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The Politics of Responsibility - Chad Lavin

The Politics of Responsibility

Hardcover

Published: 6th September 2008
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Politics cannot function without responsibility, but there have been serious disagreements about how responsibility is to be understood and huge controversies about how it is to be distributed, rewarded, legislated, and enforced. The liberal notions of personal responsibility that have dominated political thinking in the West for more than a century are rooted in the familiar territory of individual will and causal blame, but these theories have been assailed as no longer adequate to explain or address the political demands of a global social structure. Informed by Marx, Foucault, and Butler, Chad Lavin argues for a "postliberal" theory of responsibility, formulating responsibility as a process that is anchored in a persistent ability to respond, not reproach. Lavin works this formulation through discussions of contemporary political issues such as globalization, police brutality, and abortion.

Rather than assigning individual blame, postliberal responsibility challenges the supposed autonomy of individual subjects by taking structural arguments into account. Lavin concludes that a liberal concept of responsibility gives rise to a moralistic and oppressive approach to social problems, while a postliberal approach highlights a shared responsibility for developing collective solutions to systemic problems. Postliberal responsibility not only suggests more generous and democratic responses to social ills, it also allows us to theorize a greater range of issues that demand political response.

"In a timely and provocative theoretical intervention, Lavin deftly critiques liberal notions of responsibility that have consistently forced us to assume political concepts such as limited causality and sovereign individuality. He argues that ontopolitical assumptions hinder our ability to develop truly relevant political responses to a variety of perplexing conditions that we confront in the twenty-first century." Bradley J. Macdonald, author of Performing Marx: Contemporary Negotiations of a Living Tradition

Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Preface: Responsibility after Liberalismp. vii
Theories of Response
Responsible Subjectsp. 3
Making Marx Effective: Postliberal Agency in the Brumairep. 19
Judith Butler's Responsible Performancep. 37
Responses of Theory
Who Responds to Global Capital?p. 61
Postliberal Responsibility and the Death of Amadou Diallop. 82
Conceptions of Responsibility: On Health as a Choicep. 102
Conclusion: Forgetting to Forgivep. 121
Notesp. 137
Bibliographyp. 151
Indexp. 161
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780252032974
ISBN-10: 0252032977
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 184
Published: 6th September 2008
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.39