The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings Hardcover – Jul 1 2012
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“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”—Slavoj iek
“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser.”—New Statesman
“One of the most important philosophers writing today.”—Joan Copjec
“Scarcely any other moral thinker of our day is as politically clear-sighted and courageously polemical, so prepared to put notions of truth and universality back on the agenda.”—Terry Eagleton
“Shaking the foundations of Western liberal democracy.”—Times Higher Education Supplement
About the Author
Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Theory of the Subject, Being and Event, Manifesto for Philosophy, and Gilles Deleuze. His recent books include The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics, Polemics, The Communist Hypothesis, Five Lessons on Wagner, and Wittgenstein’s Anti-Philosophy.
Gregory Elliott is a member of the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy and author of Althusser: The Detour of Theory and Labourism and the English Genius: The Strange Decay of Labour England?.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After putting aside some of the critique about the lack of political economy in his writings, badiou describes the intertwining of today's capitalism and marxism. Then he outlines three forms of riots: immediate, latent and historical. Badiou uses the axes of first Localisation (weak, limited, or enduring and shared), then Temporality that enters by way of extension (imitative or qualitative). Non-uniform composition and accordance with an Idea are also crucial for a riot to become an event. Then he explains the dialectics of retaining fidelity to the event's idea, through organizationing generic statements into strategy and tactics. While eradicating the states' naming and classification ("seperating words") the movement installs some of its own, changing the symbolic values of the world.
The event that is based on self-evident immanence, endures the states' obstacles, cutting through the identitarian imaginary average citizen put forward and marketed by the state (via opinion polls). This paves the way for a greater group-crossing sharing of an Idea, a way that is generic and universal, just as everyone acknowledged the Tahririan Event. Eventhough the protesters were statistically a minority, they still had a legitimacy to speak for the whole people. This legitimacy ought to be politically organized on the original basis of the historical pre-evental riot: the intensifying of the inexistant (i.e., those who are excluded, or included as excluded, from the previous formally held symbolic order), so to replace representation with the purest presentation of a new political actor, who used not to exist.
In the context of the Arab Spring badiou suggest that (at least) the Egyptian and Tunisian events are in no way a simple call for democracy. This, for him, is the "Desire for the west" paradigm that must be and basically is deeply challenged, even transgressed. It is the opening of history following the event of our time (which takes place in the Arab World, the EU, USA, even Israel), and the potential novelty that it might bring into our world that badiou is after. He systematically utilized his conceptualisation into a condensed version of a philosophical criticism against the fake liberal-leftist, and the right wing conservatives. Also, badiou manges to combine the lowest reality and the highest theory into a beautiful melange of concrete description and abstract explanation.
So overall, the book left me with a strange feeling. It is genuinely brilliant and simply stupid at once. Like non-euclidean geometry, if you see it, and (imagine) the depth in it, so it's a masterpiece. Otherwise, it's all an attack against everything which is liberal, or democratic, put simply - not or non-communist. Of-course, the depth to see is that in today's predicament, the true enemy of truth is democracy. So it is a revolutionary book for revolutionaries. Except that those revolutionaries that shall understand it, are probably pre-occupied reading all day and not engaged in too many revolutions. then, it's a pretty useless book.