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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

History for a change

I've just discovered that Alex Callinicos' out of print Making History has just been republished in the new Historical Materialism book series. This is one of those books that is extremely important but for some reason has been completely unavailable for years. The blurb:
Making History is about the question - central to social
theory - of how human agents draw their powers from the
social structures they are involved in. Drawing on
classical Marxism, analytical philosophy, and a wide range
of historical writing, Alex Callinicos seeks to avoid two
unacceptable extremes: dissolving the subject into an
impersonal flux, as poststructuralists tend to; and treating
social structures as the mere effects of individual action
(for example, rational-choice theory). Among those discussed
are Althusser, Anderson, Benjamin, Brenner, Cohen, Elster,
Foucault, Giddens, Habermas, and Mann. Callinicos has written
an extended introduction to this new edition that reviews
developments since Making History was first published in
1987. This republication gives a new generation of readers
access to an important intervention in Marxism and
social theory.
Ok, so that was a bit on the wordy side, but if you're still with me and at all interested in historical theory then you should definitely read this book. Actually, I must admit that this applies to me too as I've not read it cover to cover, having only been able to find it in a somewhat inaccessible library. There is some bad news: it's one of those academic editions where you have to take out a small mortgage... but Amazon have it for 26 pounds which isn't too bad I suppose.

By the way, I'm definitely going to start blaming things that go wrong in my life on impersonal flux.


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