Looking beyond Left and Right: Joel Kotkin on the Changing Dynamics of Class

In his forthcoming book The New Class Conflict, Joel Kotkin explores how the familiar social and political categories of the twentieth century—left and right, liberal and conservative—no longer correspond to the emerging divisions of the present day. Kotkin’s analysis insead focuses on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites. The New Class Conflict is written largely from the point of view of those who are, to date, the losers in this class conflict: the middle class. This group, which Kotkin calls the Yeomanry, has been the traditional bulwark of American society, politics, and economy. Yet under pressure from the ascendant Oligarchs and ever more powerful Clerisy, their prospects have diminished the American dream of class mobility that has animated its history and sustained its global appeal.

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Joel Kotkin and the New American Feudalism

At the National Review Online, Fred Bauer explores the rise of neofeudalism in American society, and in doing so he draws explicitly on the writings of Joel Kotkin, whose forthcoming book The New Class Crisis will be published by Telos Press on September 1. Pre-order your copy of The New Class Crisis today, and we will ship it as soon as it becomes available.

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Carl Schmitt on the Source of the Tragic

In “The Source of the Tragic,” Carl Schmitt developed an original interpretation of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark rooted in his sociological understanding of the relationship between art and contemporary politics in Shakespeare’s tragedy. According to the German jurist, one can fully understand and appreciate this masterpiece only by taking into consideration the concrete political situation at the end of the reign of the Tudor dynasty and the intense struggles for legitimacy and authority in which Shakespeare created his theatrical works.

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Now Available for Pre-Order: Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict

Telos Press Publishing is happy to announce that Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict is now available for pre-order. The book will be released on September 1, 2014.Pre-order your copy here, and we will ship it as soon as it becomes available.

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Utopia Alone

Utopia is necessary: it alone “can rescue a very limited reality” (16). Without it we are shackled by the thoughts of others, confined within realms of possibility defined by those in power. Peace, disarmament—both can seem idealistic, even ridiculous. But our incredulity results not only from the distance of these concepts from the everyday. We have been taught to understand pacifism as impractical, disarmament as suicide.

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Feminist Performance Art and Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Carlos Kong looks at Julia Rothenberg’s “Form, Utopia, and Feminist Performance Art: Toward a Rehabilitation of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory” from Telos 137 (Winter 2006).

In “Form, Utopia, and Feminist Performance Art: Toward a Rehabilitation of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory,” Julia Rothenberg attempts a recovery of Adorno’s aesthetic theory through an unconventional application of its utopian hermeneutic gestures to feminist performance art of the 1970s. Reading beyond popularized characterizations of Adorno’s pessimism, his apoliticism, his privileging of high modernism, and his negativistic theorizations of culture under late capitalism, Rothenberg suggests that overlooked, utopian elements of Adorno’s critiques of Enlightenment and commodified exchange practices both prefigure and are revived by feminist performance art. Rothenberg’s focus on Adorno’s disavowal of instrumental reason and his turn to art as counter-dialectic to the dominating potential of knowledge accrues a new politicized relevance when reread in relation to feminist performance practices. Thus, a rehabilitation of Adorno’s critical utopianism, as Rothenberg ultimately maintains, further invokes the possibility of political praxis and social transformation when expressively performed in the body of the subjected.

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