critical theory books june 2014

9 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in June

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Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling

by Michel Foucault

foucault wrong-doing, truth-telling

“Three years before his death, Michel Foucault delivered a series of lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain that until recently remained almost unknown. These lectures—which focus on the role of avowal, or confession, in the determination of truth and justice—provide the missing link between Foucault’s early work on madness, delinquency, and sexuality and his later explorations of subjectivity in Greek and Roman antiquity.

Ranging broadly from Homer to the twentieth century, Foucault traces the early use of truth-telling in ancient Greece and follows it through to practices of self-examination in monastic times. By the nineteenth century, the avowal of wrongdoing was no longer sufficient to satisfy the call for justice; there remained the question of who the “criminal” was and what formative factors contributed to his wrong-doing. The call for psychiatric expertise marked the birth of the discipline of psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as its widespread recognition as the foundation of criminology and modern criminal justice.
Buy it here.

Settler Common Sense

By Mark Rifkin

settler common sense rifkin

“In Settler Common Sense, Mark Rifkin explores how some of the most canonical of American writers take part in the legacy of displacing Native Americans. Although the books he focuses on are not about Indians, they serve as examples of what Rifkin calls “settler common sense,” taking for granted the legal and political structure through which Native peoples continue to be dispossessed.”

Buy it architecture of enjoyment lefebvre

“Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, the first publication of Henri Lefebvre’s only book devoted to architecture, redefines architecture as a mode of imagination rather than a specialized process or a collection of monuments. Lefebvre calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses. “

Buy it willing slaves of capital lordon

“Why do people work for other people? This seemingly naïve question is more difficult to answer than one might at first imagine, and it lies at the heart of Lordon’s Willing Slaves of Capital.

To complement Marx’s partial answers, especially in the face of the disconcerting spectacle of the engaged, enthusiastic employee, Lordon brings to bear a ‘Spinozist anthropology’ that reveals the fundamental role of affects and passions in the employment relationship, reconceptualizing capitalist exploitation as the capture and remoulding of desire.

A thoroughly materialist reading of Spinoza’s Ethics allows Lordon to debunk notions of individual autonomy and selfdetermination while simultaneously saving the ideas of political freedom and liberation from capitalist exploitation. Willing Slaves of Capital is a bold proposal to rethink capitalism and its transcendence on the basis of the contemporary experience of work.”

Buy it here, or check out this free excerpt.

 Fredric Jameson: The Project of Dialectical Criticism

By Robert Tally Jr.

fredric jameson robert tally

“Fredric Jameson is the most important Marxist critic in the world today. While consistently operating at the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies, Jameson has remained committed to seemingly old-fashioned philosophical discourses, most notably dialectical criticism and utopian thought.

In Fredric Jameson: The Project of Dialectical Criticism, Robert Tally surveys Jameson’s entire oeuvre, from his early studies of Sartre and formal criticism through his engagements with postmodernism and globalisation to his recent readings of Hegel, Marx and the valences of the dialectic.”

Buy it affirmation of poetry balso

“In Affirmation of Poetry, Judith Balso defends the significance of poetry as a necessary practice for thinking. In analyzing the affirmation of thought found within the work of such poets as Osip Mandelstam, Wallace Stevens, Alberto Caeiro, and Giacomo Leopardi, Balso reestablishes the importance of poetry’s place as a site of thought. “

Buy it jonathan crary 24-7

“24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance. He describes the ongoing management of individual attentiveness and the impairment of perception within the compulsory routines of contemporary technological culture. At the same time, he shows that human sleep, as a restorative withdrawal that is intrinsically incompatible with 24/7 capitalism, points to other more formidable and collective refusals of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation.”

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Radical Democracy and Collective Movements Today

Edited by Alexandros Kioupkiolis and Giorgos Katsambekis

radical democracy ashgate

“The ‘Arab spring’, the Spanish indignados, the Greek aganaktismenoi and the Occupy Wall Street movement all share a number of distinctive traits; they made extensive use of social networking and were committed to the direct democratic participation of all as they co-ordinated and conducted their actions. Leaderless and self-organized, they were socially and ideologically heterogeneous, dismissing fixed agendas or ideologies. Still, the assembled multitudes that animated these mobilizations often claimed to speak in the name of ‘the people’, and they aspired to empowered forms of egalitarian self-government in common.

Similar features have marked collective resistances from the Zapatistas and the Seattle protests onwards, giving rise to theoretical and practical debates over the importance of these ideological and political forms. By engaging with the controversy between the autonomous, biopolitical ‘multitude’ of Hardt and Negri and the arguments in favour of the hegemony of ‘the people’ advanced by J. Rancière, E. Laclau, C. Mouffe and S. Žižek the central aim of this book is to discuss these instances of collective mobilization, to probe the innovative practices and ideas they have developed and to debate their potential to reinvigorate democracy whilst seeking something better than ‘disaster capitalism’.”

Buy it derrida voice and phenomenon

“Published in 1967, Voice and Phenomenon marked a crucial turning point in Derrida’s thinking: the culmination of a 15-year-long engagement with the phenomenological tradition. It also introduced the concepts and themes that would become deconstruction.

Voice and Phenomenon is a short book, but it can be an overwhelming text, particularly for inexperienced readers of Derrida’s work. This is the first guide to clearly explain the structure of his argument, step by step.”

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