Pirates and the uses of history

When research, teaching and writing about history is being done, it is usually justified with reference to the problem of induction. Though induction is called a ‘logic’, it is really a guess about probability. If the sun has risen every day for all of my life, then it will probably rise tomorrow. There is no necessary reason implied here, no deduction from principles, simply a guess based on spotting a pattern and then predicting it into the future.

The potential of vulnerability

The global financial crisis recently exposed the uncertain conditions of the capitalist system reminding us of the vulnerability of both life itself and of capital. Capital organises labour relations that nowadays extend beyond the grasp of the nation-state (Hardt and Negri, 2001: 236).

A bridge over troubled water

Nicos P. Mouzelis has written many books on social theory during the last two decades. In Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing he makes an updated synthesis of his previous critical studies on the current state of modern and postmodern social theory, and attempts to show a way out of the deadlocks of some radical versions of sociological theorizing. Although Mouzelis writes in the introduction that his book is not a textbook, his study is a long and informative journey into the landscape of modern and postmodern theorizing.

Is capitalism dying out?

The Austrian born but French writing social philosopher and author André Gorz’s (1923-2007) important book The immaterial: Knowledge, value and capital is now available in English. The leftist radical post-Marxist theorist originally wrote the book in French, entitled L’immateriel. Connaissance, valeur et capital, five years before the international financial crisis hit the world in 2008.

Tales of ‘Much of a muchness’: Adventures in the land of social capital

Ben Fine’s argument in his second book on social capital, Theories of social capital, is straightforward: social capital is a non-sensical concept. With a nod to the Mad Hatter and his tea party in Lewis Carroll’s much-loved Alice in wonderland, Fine’s purpose in this book is to point out to us the circularities, tautologies and oxymorons of the exhaustingly vast academic and policy literature on social capital.

Between the event and democratic materialism

Bruno Bosteels, Professor of Romance Studies at the University of Cornell, has translated into English Theory of the subject (Badiou, 2009a) and Wittgenstein's anti-philosophy (Badiou, 2011). Additionally, he has written a number of significant articles and essays on Alain Badiou, including ‘Post-Maoism: Badiou and Politics’ (2005), Badiou or the restarting of dialectical materialism (2007), Alain Badiou: A polemical trajectory (2009a). He is therefore one of the best specialists of Badiou within the Anglophone academy.

Can capitalism survive climate change?

Can capitalism effectively respond to climate change? This is the timely and critically important question posed by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson at the beginning of their book, Climate Capitalism. It is the same question that motivated me to focus my own research on the topic of business and climate change nearly fifteen years ago.

Carbon trading in South Africa: Plus ça change?

Whether carbon markets have a role in responding to climate change and delivering positive benefits to the developing world is a question that continues to generate lively debate and is rightly subject to ever more critical scrutiny. From cases of climate fraud and corruption in carbon markets to instances of displacement and the exposure of poorer people to negative social and environmental effects from hosting CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects, there is mounting criticism of the effectiveness and equity of using offset and trading mechanisms to tackle climate change.


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