Robert Kirsch and Sarah Surak (eds), Marcuse in the Twenty-First Century: Radical Politics, Critical Theory, and Revolutionary Praxis (Routledge, 2017), 160p.
This book engages the critical theory of political philosopher Herbert Marcuse to imagine spaces of resistance and liberation from the repressive forces of late capitalism. Marcuse, an influential counterculture voice in the 1960s, highlighted the "smooth democratic unfreedom" of postwar capitalism, a critique that is well adapted to the current context. The compilation begins with a previously unpublished lecture delivered by Marcuse in 1966 addressing the inadequacy of philosophy in its current form, arguing how it may be a force for liberation and social change. This lecture provides a theoretical mandate for the volume’s original contributions from international scholars engaging how topics such as higher education, aesthetics, and political organization can contribute to the project of building a critical rationality for a qualitatively better world, offering an alternative to the bleak landscape of neoliberalism. The essays in this volume as whole engage the current context with an urgency appropriate to the problems facing an encroaching authoritarianism in political society with an interdisciplinary lens that speaks to the complexity of the problems facing modern society. The chapters originally published as a special issue in New Political Science.