Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative as Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960s up to the present, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism and everyday life in the late twentieth cenlury.
Kurt Goldstein (1878-1965) was already an established neuropsychologist when he emigrated from Germany to the United States in the 1930s. This book, his magnum opus and widely regarded as a modern classic in psychology and biology, grew out of his dissatisfaction with traditional natural science techniques for analyzing living beings. It offers a broad introduction to the sources and ranges of application of the "holistic" or "organismic" research program that has since become a standard part of biological thought.
This book by the legendary Situationist activist is a fiercely partisan historical reflection on the ways religious and economic forces have shaped Western culture. Within this broad frame, Raoul Vaneigem examines the heretical and millennarian movements that challenged social and ecclesiastical authority in Europe from the 1200s into the 1500s. At the core of these heresies, Vaneigem sees not only resistance to the power of State and Church but also the immensely creative intention of new forms of love, sexuality, community and exchange.
In the 1990s, questions of sex roles and individual identity have taken a central position in intellectual debates. These eleven essays in history and anthropology offer a novel perspective on these debates by questioning the place of sexual dimorphism in culture and history. They propose a new role for the study of alternative sex and gender systems in cultural science, as a means of critiquing thinking that privileges standard male/female gender distinctions and rejects the natural basis of other forms of sexuality.
Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) was one of France's foremost historians of science. Trained as a medical doctor as well as a philosopher, he combined these practices to demonstrate to philosophers that there could be no epistemology without concrete study of the actual development of the sciences and to historians that there could be no worthwhile history of science without a philosophical understanding of the conceptual basis of all knowledge.
The three volumes of The Accursed Share address what Georges Bataille sees as the paradox of utility: namely, if being useful means serving a further end, then the ultimate end of utility can only be uselessness. The first volume of The Accursed Share, the only one published before Bataille's death, treated this paradox in economic terms, showing that "it is not necessity but its contrary, luxury, that presents living matter and mankind with their fundamental problems."
In America today the intense and controversial debate over the censorship of pornography continues to call into question the values of a modern, democratic culture. This ground-breaking collection of ten critical essays traces the history and various uses of pornography in early modern Europe, offering the historical perspective crucial to understanding current issues of artistic censorship
In this classic meditation on the problem of style in art history, Henri Focillon describes how art forms change over time. Although he argues that the development of art is irreducible to external political, social, or economic determinants, one of his great achievements was to lodge a concept of autonomous formal mutation within the shifting domain of materials and techniques. Focillon emphasizes the presence of nonsynchronous tendencies within styles that give to artworks a manifold and stratified character.
Theory of Religion, along with its companion volumes of The Accursed Share, forms the cornerstone of Bataille's "Copernican" project to overturn not only economic thought but its ethical foundations as well. No other work of Bataille's has managed so incisively to draw the links between man's religious and economic activities.
Expressionism in Philosophy is both a pivotal reading of Spinoza's work and also a crucial text within the development of Deleuze's own thought. It was the culmination of a series of monographic studies by Deleuze (on Hume, Bergson, Nietzsche, Proust, Kant, and Sacher-Masoch), and it prepared the transition from these abstract treatments of historical schemes of experience to the nomadology of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
The Normal and the Pathological is one of the crucial contributions to the history of science in the last half century. It takes as its starting point the sudden appearance of biology as a science in the 19th-century and examines the conditions determining its particular makeup.
One of the major works of an important modem philosopher, Matter and Memory investigates the autonomous yet interconnected planes formed by matter and perception on the one hand and memory and time on the other.
Henry Bergson (1859-1941) was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1927. His works include Time and Free Will, An Introduction to Metaphysics, Creative Evolution, and The Creative Mind.
The Poetic Structure of the World is a major reconsideration of a crucial turning point in Western thought and culture: the heliocentric revolution of Copernicus and Kepler. Fernand Hallyn treats the work of these two figures not simply in terms of the history of science or astronomy, but as events embedded in a wider field of images, symbols, texts, and practices. These new representations of the universe, he insists, cannot be explained by recourse to explanations of "genius" or "intuition."
Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet are leaders in a contemporary French classical scholarship that has produced a stunning reconfiguration of Greek thought and literature. Here they provide a disturbing and decidedly nonclassical reading of Greek myth and tragedy and the relationship between them.
Jean-Pierre Vernant is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Study of Ancient Religions at the College de France in Paris. Pierre Vidal-Naquet is Director of Studies and Professor of Sociology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.
In this groundbreaking study, Jean Pierre-Vernant delineates a compelling new vision of ancient Greece. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece takes us far from the calm and familiar images of Polykleitos and the Parthenon to reveal a fundamentally other culture one of slavery, of masks and death, of scapegoats, of ritual hunting and ecstasies.
"The thesis is radical," writes Marshall Sahlins of this landmark text in anthropology and political science. "We conventionally define the state as the regulation of violence; it may be the origin of it. Clastres's thesis is that economic expropriation and political coercion are inconsistent with the character of tribal society - which is to say, with the greater part of human history."
In these essays two of the most important French thinkers of our time reflect on each other's work. In so doing, Maurice Blanchot the novelist/essayist and Michel Foucault the philosopher develop a new perspective on the relationship between subjectivity, fiction, and the will to truth. The two texts present meditations on writing, language, and representation which question the status of the author/subject and explore the notion of a "neutral" voice that arises from the realm of the "outside."
Political acts are encoded in medial forms--punch holes on a card, images on a live stream, tweets about events unfolding in real time--that have force, shaping people as subjects and forming the contours of what is sensible, legible, and visible. In doing so they define the terms of political possibility and create terrain for political acts.