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Politics and Fate

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2167-8
144 pages
December 2000, Polity
Politics and Fate (0745621678) cover image


Politics was once regarded as an activity which could give human societies control over their fate. However, there is now a deep pessimism about the ability of human beings to control anything very much, least of all through politics. This new fatalism about the human condition claims that we are living in the iron cages erected by vast impersonal forces arising from globalization and technology: a society that is both anti-political and unpolitical, a society without hope or the means either to imagine or promote an alternative future. It reflects the disillusion of political hopes in liberal and socialist utopias in the twentieth century and a widespread disenchantment with the grand narratives of the Enlightenment about reason and progress, and with modernity itself.

The most characteristic expression of this disenchantment is the endless discourses on endism - the end of history, the end of ideology, the end of the nation-state, the end of authority, the end of government, the end of the public realm, the end of politics itself - all have been proclaimed in recent years.

Andrew Gamble's new book argues against the fatalism implicit in so many of these discourses, as well as against the fatalism that has always been present in many of the central discourses of modernity. It sets out a defence of politics and the political, explains why we cannot do without politics, and probes the complex relationship between politics and fate, and the continuing and necessary tension between them.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of politics, public affairs and political thought.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Fate.

Chapter 2 The End of History.

Chapter 3 The End of the Nation State.

Chapter 4 The End of Authority.

Chapter 5 The End of the Public Domain.

Chapter 6 Politics

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Author Information

Andrew Gamble is Professor of Politics and Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.
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The Wiley Advantage

An important contribution to the debate on the nature of politics and the politicalWritten in a clear and accessible styleWritten by one of the country's leading political thinkers
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'In 120 taut, thought-provoking pages, [Gamble] has sought to rescue politics from fatalism, to show that the iron cages in which contemporary elites have taken shelter are not iron after all, to confute the pessimism of the times by posing a challenge to endism in all its forms. The argument ranges widely and draws on a formidable range of academic literatures. But the nub is devastatingly simple. The endist project, Gamble argues, is fundamentally flawed. In different ways, endists all purport to show that the space for politics has vanished, or has at least sharply contracted. And that claim is itself political.' David Marquand, Times Literary Supplement

'This is a thoughtful book ... intellectually demanding without being technical. If as widely read as it deserves, Politics and Fate could restore public respect for political thinking.' Bernard Crick, The Independent

"Gamble's prose is clear and supple, his targets well chosen, his arguments effective and well tructured and his optimism realistic and sober" Nicholas Rengger, St Andrews University, UK. International Relations Theory

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