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Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory




Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory

Nancy Fraser, Rahel Jaeggi

ISBN: 978-0-745-67156-7 May 2018 Polity 224 Pages



In this important new book, Nancy Fraser and Rahel Jaeggi take a fresh look at the big questions surrounding the peculiar social form known as “capitalism,” upending many of our commonly held assumptions about what capitalism is and how to subject it to critique. They show how, throughout its history, various regimes of capitalism have relied on a series of institutional separations between economy and polity, production and social reproduction, and human and non-human nature, periodically readjusting the boundaries between these domains in response to crises and upheavals. They consider how these “boundary struggles” offer a key to understanding capitalism’s contradictions and the multiple forms of conflict to which it gives rise.

What emerges is a renewed crisis critique of capitalism which puts our present conjuncture into broader perspective, along with sharp diagnoses of the recent resurgence of right-wing populism and what would be required of a viable Left alternative. This major new book by two leading critical theorists will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the nature and future of capitalism and with the key questions of progressive politics today.
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Conceptualizing Capitalism
  • Chapter 2: Historicizing Capitalism
  • Chapter 3: Criticizing Capitalism
  • Chapter 4: Contesting Capitalism
  • Notes
“As the world is caught up in a whirlwind of multiple crises – social, ecological, political, civilizational – we desperately need to get our hands on and shut down the source. In this book, two of the most acute minds in critical theory point their fingers towards capitalism. Fraser in particular elaborates on her path-breaking ‘unifying’ theory of capitalism as a system resting on several hidden abodes that it cannot live without and cannot avoid wrecking. This is the sort of sober and passionate thinking we need in a world careening out of control.”
Andreas Malm, Lund University

“Fraser and Jaeggi supply an eloquent, well-reasoned, and thorough account of the key institution of our time – capitalism. For them, capitalism is not only a mode of production but also an institutional order or form of life. Those who have followed Fraser’s discussion of recognition or justice, or read Jaeggi on the actuality of alienation, will cherish this brilliant contribution to understanding the world in which we live.”
Robin Blackburn, University of Essex