By Samuel A. Chambers
Political and fiscal types of society usually function at a degree of abstraction so excessive that the connections among them, and their hyperlinks to tradition, are past succeed in. Bearing Society in Mind demanding situations those disciplinary barriers and proposes an alternate framework—the social formation.
The conception of social formation demonstrates how the cloth of society is made of threads which are concurrently financial, political, and cultural. Drawing at the paintings of theorists together with Marx, Althusser, Butler, Žižek and Rancière, Bearing Society in Mind makes the most powerful case attainable for the theoretical significance and political necessity of this idea. It at the same time demonstrates that the social formation proves to be a really specific and bizarre kind of “concept”—it isn't really a mirrored image or version of the realm, yet is definitively and concretely certain up with and constitutive of the realm.
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Additional info for Bearing Society in Mind: Theories and Politics of the Social Formation
The social order is neither constituted nor redeemed by a theory of norms, but it is nevertheless inextricably bound up with normativity. This hypothesis reformulates and expands the second one, above, yet it does so in a language better suited to engage directly with the Habermasian project. Hence the formulation takes on a polemical dimension with respect to the goals of Habermas’s “discourse ethics”—goals rejected here. Instead, this hypothesis draws strongly from, and sides decidedly with, Foucault.
In his own way, Althusser offers this hypothesis as a test case for the proper way to read Marx in contradistinction to Hegel. With respect to the project of giving an account of the social formation, this whole/totality distinction matters a great deal, since we can see that many of the previous hypotheses track alongside Hegel’s thought—Hegel obviously accounts for the social order in a thoroughly non-liberal manner. From Althusser’s perspective, the difference between Hegel and Marx proves so meaningful because Hegel produces a non-differentiated account of the social order—a “totality” that has an essential core.
I read the text with the goal of illuminating Marx’s powerful understanding of: 1) the social formation itself as a complex societal form that contains within it both specific practices and important abstract conceptions (with material effects), and 2) the peculiar historical development of social formations. Explicating Marx’s understanding of the historical movement and transformation of social formations leads me to a number of conclusions about the epistemological status of the social formation.
Bearing Society in Mind: Theories and Politics of the Social Formation by Samuel A. Chambers