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Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx (Radical Thinkers Series 3) [Paperback]

Jacques Derrida , Terry Eagleton , Fredric Jameson , Antonio Negri et al.
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Book Description

1 Jan 2008 Radical Thinkers (Book 33)
With the publication of Specters of Marx in 1993, Jacques Derrida redeemed a longstanding pledge to confront Marx's texts directly and in detail. His characteristically bravura presentation provided a provocative re-reading of the classics in the Western tradition and posed a series of challenges to Marxism. In a timely intervention in one of today's most vital theoretical debates, the contributors to Ghostly Demarcations respond to the distinctive program projected by Specters of Marx. The volume features sympathetic meditations on the relationship between Marxism and deconstruction by Fredric Jameson, Werner Hamacher, Antonio Negri, Warren Montag, and Rastko Mocnik, brief polemical reviews by Terry Eagleton and Pierre Macherey, and sustained political critiques by Tom Lewis and Aijaz Ahmad. The volume concludes with Derrida's reply to his critics in which he sharpens his views about the vexed relationship between Marxism and deconstruction. Fredric Jameson, Antonio Negri, Terry Eagleton, Pierre Macherey and others engage in a debate on Marx with Jacques Derrida.

Frequently Bought Together

Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx (Radical Thinkers Series 3) + Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (Routledge Classics) + The Politics of Friendship (Radical Thinkers)
Price For All Three: 31.01

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Second edition edition (1 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844672115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844672110
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Virtually every area of humanistic scholarship and artistic creativity in the latter part of the 20th century felt the influence of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida."--"Guardian""Fredric Jameson is probably the most important cultural critic writing in English today ... It can truly be said that nothing cultural is alien to him."--Colin MacCabe"Antonio Negri is one of the most significant figures of current political thought."--"New Statesman"

About the Author

Michael Sprinker was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His "Imaginary Relations: Aesthetics and Ideology in the History of Historical Materialism "and" History and Ideology in Proust" are also published by Verso. Together with Mike Davis, he founded Verso's Haymarket Series and guided it until his death in 1999. Aijaz Ahmad is a renowned cultural theorist who has taught in several western and Indian universities. A frequent contributor to "Frontline" magazine, he currently lives in New Delhi. Jacques Derrida was Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. English translations of his work include "Given Time," "Memories of the Blind," "Specters of Marx, The Politics of Friendship, " and "The Gift of Death." Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow, University of Manchester. His other books include "Ideology"; "The Function of Criticism"; "Heathcliff and the Great Hunger"; "Against the Grain"; "Walter Benjamin"; and "Criticism and Ideology," all from Verso. Fredric Jameson is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University. The author of numerous books, he has over the last three decades developed a richly nuanced vision of Western culture's relation to political economy. He was a recipient of the 2008 Holberg International Memorial Prize. He is the author of many books, including "Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," "The Cultural Turn, A Singular Modernity," "The Modernist Papers," "Archaeologies of the Future," "Brecht and Method, Ideologies of Theory, ""Valences of the Dialectic," "The Hegel Variations" and "Representing Capital." Warren Montag is Associate Professor of English at Occidental College, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Bodies, Masses, Power: Spinoza and his Contemporaries" and the "Unthinkable Swift." Antonio Negri has taught philosophy and political science at the Universities of Padua and Paris; he has also been a political prisoner in Italy and a political refugee in France. He is the author of over thirty books, including "Political Descartes, Marx Beyond Marx, The Savage Anomaly, The Politics of Subversion, Insurgencies, Subversive Spinoza, " and "Time for Revolution," and, in collaboration with Michael Hardt, "Labor of Dionysus, Empire" and "Multitude." He currently lives in Paris and Venice.

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20 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Fred Engels said once that each generation of philosophers try arduously to soar higher in the sky than the previous, and here although one can see the value in the Left engaging with such a formidable thinker as Derrida, I would think the Left had better things to do,like the set of probelmatics concerning the globalization/exploitation of international labour,the eroding of the democratic state,the banality of neo-liberalism and its future. Perhaps the ultimate question here is what value emits itself after we read the various brilliant but ultimately marginal excursions/commentary into Derrida's work "Spectres of Marx". Derrida never claimed to be a Marxist and it is self-evident that he is merely attempting to arrest Marxism as countless others have, expunging it away,diluting its content from the level of intellectual discourse it rightly deserves. Derrida's body of work takened wholly refuses the content of such an arduous task ,being continually directly referred backwards to Heidegger and an affinity of the durational frame of the past reprisals into "what was" rather than what can be. Jameson's piece from a few years ago is the most comprehensive here, for he is always an excellent assembler of varigated,yet focused tracking like with a conceptual microscope the intellectual history of Derrida's thought. But Derrida's response to Jameson's response where Jameson's had erroneous placed the aesthetic in the field of play is a good example of indulgent useless bickering. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Specters, Promises, Messianicity Before Our Eyes 2 Nov 2013
By Michael H. Shenkman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a revelation. It resounds with the calls of thresholds and clamorings just over the horizon, if only... if only we... what? Think? Let Be? Open?
Three essays are sparkling: Jameson's is a warm up for the approach. And that is no faint praise. He is so lucidly (Derrida's word) clear about the stakes here (getting to that threshold, at a minimum), that the reader just might imagine being ready to go that next step (not) beyond.
The next two that I cite are indispensable works in aspirational thinking. First Derrida's. I enjoy Derrida's rejoinder writings. I think here also of his demolition of Searle in Limited Inc. Here a beginning reader might, with patience, find elucidating markers along the way to comprehending what Derrida's life of writing and generating provoking concepts such as deconstruction, messianistic, differance have cared for: to move beyond the threshold that metaphysics and ontology have staked out as our "ground," and instead move into a living engendering of aspiration around each "saying" we proffer and posit. His discussion of the "messianistic without messianism" is strikingly vivid. His flagging of a way for reading him, by noting the inclusion of the word, "perhaps," is also a gift, as he says that the statements marked by this word are those that concern him the most. And that instruction can be heeded in the reading of this essay as well.
Now for Hamacher's essay. This is a seminal, essential, founding essay -- Derrida says "luminous, powerful gestures -- on the ways to enacting a life of aspiring commitment. He frames notions, words and (af)formulations we must undertake to engage as an aspiration moves from what is (af)figured into to what is to be per-formed. This spacing of lingual fragments depicts precisely that notion of "letting be" that Hamacher (not Heidegger) offers as that full grasping of the aspiration at the threshold at which change, event, expansive occurrence is about to be broached by a living (any living?) being. Hamacher is next (after Derrida, Deleuze/Guattari).
[Qualifying Note: This essay, I said is "founding," I need to qualify that. It has this status in the line of (true) Thought as evoked by the great French thinkers in the post-WWII and '68-affected era. But it is perhaps Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling that rightfully can claim this "founding" status.]
I agree with Derrida's dismissal of Eagleton and Lewis, and his respectful disdain of Ahmad, to whom I think he gives too much accrediting attention. I found the writings of Macherey and Montag to be tenderly aware of the materialist constipations that surround the Althusser circle (and who Derrida rightly claimed friendship, as he means the term), but still good company along the way.
That said, the way Derrida ends his essay, in a plea for detente with Negri, sent my soul soaring by his commentary on "ontology" as a shibboleth between Thought-making "marranos." This term, the most derogatory epithet hurled at the post-Inqjuisition/Expulsion Spanish/Portuguese Jewws (in the 15th Century), evokes the status of this group of outcasts. Negri and Derrida, both experiencing prison cells (for different reasons and on different scales), are friends. And they are outcasts from the mainstream, each in their own ways. Both feel viscerally, perhaps, the staleness of the academic air behind them as they stand together on the threshold, each about to leap off in different directions, but both away from that stifling enclosed and self-congratulating deadness of the academic and legal establishments. As they leap, each feels different pulls and weights, thus also take up different inertias along their lines of flight. But Derrida's plea, remains so alive: he seems to say, Negri, my friend, we need each other, and our disciples, adherents, readers and fellow-aspiring souls, on this journey we each undertake.
This book lays out the work of some of the masters on this way, and Derrida, with his Marrano companion -- Hamacher as the encryptor of shibboleths, and Jameson as the usher on the near side -- get us far along towards,... the open?... or... perhaps... what..?... waits?
If you are preparing to set out on your way in an aspiring role, take these guides, these prophets, with you.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marx as private property 18 April 2008
By E. Blanes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Can a thought be considered the private property of epigones? Extraordinary book, containing the reactions of Marx's most passionate interpreters alive to Derrida's unique approach to marxism. The debate generated by the differences of all these thinkers that participated in the symposium is both an inspiration and a warning of what may be committed in the name of a thought. Derrida's lucidity to the provocations and invitations extended by his readers is of quirurgical precision. The limits and the possibilities offered by marxist thought are however not passed by at any moment. Recommended to all those that are into deconstruction, or just plain methodical, consequential thought.
9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good supplement to Specters of Marx 26 Nov 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For those of us initially frustrated by Derrida's refusal, in Specters of Marx, to engage seriously with Marx and/or with politics, this book will not alleviate the problem. In fact, it exacerbates the frustration, but it does so in a way that may help to clarify the debate around the book. A decent selection of views and reviews on Specters of Marx (but missing the crucial review by Gayatri Spivak) is followed by Derrida's astonishingly petulant reply. Choosing sides becomes easier, even for the avowed deconstructionist, when Derrida's own pettiness makes it clear that (just as with Marxism) it is clearly possible to partake of a "Derrideanism without Derrida," and in so doing subtract the insularity of the man from the suggestiveness of the work. We readers will have to carry deconstructive Marxism farther than Derrida. But this supplement is always the condition of reading.
13 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading and Misreading Derrida 12 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is quite fundamental for the reader to understand that the main focus of Specters of Marx is spectrality and its attendant ideological implications, rather than Marx. One cannot read Derrida politically without misrepresenting his ideas. It is quite ironic that a number of Derrida's critics, particularly coming from the Marxist field, fall back on the dilapidated model of dialectics, and hence binary oppositions. Marx's ontology is forever tainted by the hauntological presence of the other. Derrida suggests that we examine the processes rather than the end products. This collection of essays, ranging from ridiculous to the sublime, is a response to the ideas set forward in Specters. It is very useful in approaching the text from a number of different angles.
16 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derrida never claimed to be a Marxist,-what's the fuss? 2 Sep 1999
By Rachel Abbinanti (tusai1@aol.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fred Engels said once that each generation of philosophers try arduously to soar higher in the sky than the previous, and here although one can see the value in the Left engaging with such a formidable thinker as Derrida, I would think the Left had better things to do,like the set of probelmatics concerning the globalization/exploitation of international labour,the eroding of the democratic state,the banality of neo-liberalism and its future. Perhaps the ultimate question here is what value emits itself after we read the various brilliant but ultimately marginal excursions/commentary into Derrida's work "Spectres of Marx". Derrida never claimed to be a Marxist and it is self-evident that he is merely attempting to arrest Marxism as countless others have, expunging it away,diluting its content from the level of intellectual discourse it rightly deserves. Derrida's body of work takened wholly refuses the content of such an arduous task ,being continually directly referred backwards to Heidegger and an affinity of the durational frame of the past reprisals into "what was" rather than what can be. Jameson's piece from a few years ago is the most comprehensive here, for he is always an excellent assembler of varigated,yet focused tracking like with a conceptual microscope the intellectual history of Derrida's thought. But Derrida's response to Jameson's response where Jameson's had erroneous placed the aesthetic in the field of play is a good example of indulgent useless bickering. Of course Derrida denies that the aesthetic is an integral component of his thought although he depends upon it continuously for his performative acts at creating new jargons,the conceptual 'writing' freedoms and cross genres (is this literature,a lecture- sketch, or philosophy, or art??) and incessant cross and inter-breeding of thoughts,fragments of excerpts, half-references to the Western panoply of thought from Freud,Heidegger etc. I think that is the ultimate problem with Derrida,he cannot convincingly deny any perspective,(although he has say obviously the opposite in interviews) in that his work seems to ascribe to conceptual indulgences and playfullness. Eagleton is also brilliant here and takes the more New Left perspective,which is old now, which still has vibrant points which again ultimately ponders the relationship of Marxism to various other ideological departures as deconstruction,Messianism and post-structuralism.I think ultimately we are barking up the wrong tree here for ultimately the lens which Derrida looks through(his body of thought) is so far removed from the problematics which Marxism(defined here in it's widest liberal sense) has developed throughout its long and tortured history,that again there are indeed larger dimensions to pursue.
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