Politics in the impasse

Explorations in postsecular social theory

By Bill Martin

Subjects: Political Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
Paperback : 9780791427941, 300 pages, January 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427934, 300 pages, January 1996

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Table of contents


Introduction: Going Neuromancer

1. Conceiving postsecular socialism

2. Against the strategy of cynicism: radical possibilities in the margins of the postmodern condition

3. Participation

4. Community after liberalism (reflections before Rawls)

5. Toward community: the matrix of liberalism, Marxism, and communitarianism

6. How Marxism became analytic

7. Ethics and the force of history: three possibilities in Kantian political philosophy

8. A postsecular contribution to the debate on abortion

9. The hardest questions: reflections on socialism after Emil Fackenheim

10. Still Maoist after all these years

11. A letter on fascism: some angry, difficult reflections

12. Some things I learned in Berkeley

Afterword: Crazy quilt: points for further research and discussion




Develops a radical politics of community that engages with practical issues such as the Gulf War and the 1992 uprisings in Los Angeles, set against the context of postmodern capitalism.


This book contributes a radical politics of community, one that engages with practical questions in the context of hypersecular, postmodern capitalism. Going beyond the bounds of the modern political spectrum of "left" and "right" (even while tunneling within these boundaries and questioning the very idea of the spectrum), Bill Martin moves from the possibilities of rethinking the socialist and Marxist projects, through recent debates on liberalism and communitarianism, the difficult issues of anti-Semitism in Marx and Marxism, and the legacy of Mao for revolutionary practice, to the practical issues raised by the Gulf War and its ideological aftermath and the 1992 uprisings in Los Angeles.

Bill Martin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University of Chicago. His previous books include Matrix and line: Derrida and the possibilities of postmodern social theory, also published by SUNY Press, and Humanism and its aftermath: The shared fate of deconstruction and politics.


"Martin's essays are spirited, well-written, provocative, original and engaging. They strive to keep alive the radical spirit during a period of dispirited cynicism and exhaustion. Martin intervenes in a variety of contemporary intellectual and political debates in a voice that is often angry, sometimes romantic and utopian, often analytical and philosophical, and always informed by the project of developing a radical, post-secular communitarian politics and philosophical perspectives that will serve the interests of human emancipation and well-being. Readers should find his interventions exciting, engaging, and thought-provoking. "-- Douglas Kellner, University of Texas, Austin

"Martin is an intellectual revolutionary or revolutionary intellectual who is rapidly becoming a major, important voice on the contemporary philosophical-political scene. Linked to this radicalism is a maturity, balance, and wisdom. The book is not only very insightful, provocative, and original but a real pleasure to read. " -- James L. Marsh, Fordham University

"This is a very important book in that its author not only courageously enters controversial topics with novel insights but also opens up a needed new territory of questioning within the fields of critical and postmodern social theory. Martin's work makes bold strides toward making sense of the theoretical and practical impasses of the present age. It will be hotly debated because it hotly and competently discusses hard questions!"--Martin J. Matustik, Purdue University