This volume of conversations between Alain Badiou and Peter Engelmann focuses on the concrete political situation in the world of today. Here the validity and applicability of Badiou's ideas are tested in relation to the great social and political problems of our time, including terrorism, migration, the surge in support for nationalist and populist parties and the growing gap between rich and poor. Badiou argues that in the age of today's globalized capitalism, with its division of labour on a global scale and the worldwide interconnection of information through the Internet, there are no longer any national solutions. Because nations and states lose meaning in favour of transnational corporations in globalized capitalism, resistance to capitalism must by definition be global too. Only a politics that defines itself as a politics for all and does not act in the interests of one particular group - whether a nation, religion or community of shared values - can lead the world out of the current crisis of globalized capitalism.
The concept of community is tainted by the events of the twentieth century, frequently appropriated by totalitarian regimes for the purposes of exclusion and oppression. In this dialogue with Peter Engelmann, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy attempts to reframe community as central to a reconceptualization of politics and democracy. Observing that all our interactions are in some way shared experiences, Nancy demonstrates that a common sense of life precedes our existence as individuals: we can only truly make sense of life in a plurality. Democracy is typically concerned with establishing political unity, yet its greater task lies in community: creating a space in which sense can realize itself and circulate. This conversation with one of France's foremost thinkers will be of great interest to all readers of contemporary philosophy and political theory.
In a well-known text called `The Communist Hypothesis', first published in 2007, the renowned philosopher Alain Badiou breathed fresh life into the idea of communism as an intellectual representation that provides a critical perspective on existing politics and offers a systemic alternative to capitalism. Now, in the course of this wide-ranging conversation with Peter Engelmann, Alain Badiou explains why he continues to value the idea of communism against the background of current social crises and despite negative historical experiences. From the anticipation of a communism without a state to the problem of the concept of democracy and an analysis of capitalism as a system, the two thinkers discuss the key political issues of our time. Whilst explaining his political philosophy, Badiou also reflects on current socio-political developments such as the turmoil in the Middle East and the situation in China. This compelling dialogue is both a highly topical contribution to the question of how we might organize our societies differently and an accessible introduction to Badiou's philosophical thinking.
In this book the influential philosopher Jacques Rancière, in discussion with Peter Engelmann, explores the enduring connection between politics and aesthetics, arguing that aesthetics forms the fundamental basis for social and political upheaval. Beginning from his rejection of structuralist Marxism, Rancière outlines the development of his thought from his early studies on workers' emancipation to his recent work on literature, film and visual art. Rather than discussing aesthetics within narrow terms of how we contemplate art or beauty, Rancière argues that aesthetics underpins our entire `regime of experience'. He shows how political relations develop from sensual experience, as individual feelings and perceptions become the concern of the community as a whole. Since politics emerges from the `division of the sensual', aesthetic experience becomes a radically emancipatory and egalitarian means to disrupt this order and transform political reality. Investigating new forms of emancipatory politics arising from current art practices and social movements, this short book will appeal to anyone interested in contemporary art, aesthetics, philosophy and political theory.