A General Theory of Magic by Marcel Mauss
First written by Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A General Theory of Magic gained a wide new readership when republished by Mauss in 1950. As a study of magic in ‘primitive’ societies and its survival today in our thoughts and social actions, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss called, in an introduction to that edition, the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century’s greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today. At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths once again, A General Theory of Magic presents itself as a classic for our times.
First written by Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, ‘A General Theory of Magic’ gained a wide new readership when republished by Mauss in 1950. As a study of magic in ‘primitive’ societies and its survival today in our thoughts and social actions, it represents what Claude Livi-Strauss called, in an introduction to that edition, the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century’s greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today. At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths once again, ‘A General Theory of Magic’ presents itself as a classic for our times.
Marcel Mauss (1872 – 1950). French anthropologist and sociologist, author of ‘The Gift’, and, with Emile Durkheim, ‘Primitive Classification’.
‘It is enough to recall that Mauss’ influence is not limited to ethnographers, none of whom could claim to have escaped it, but extends also to linguists, psychologists, historians or religion and orientalists.’
Commonwealth by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
The authors argue for the idea of the ‘common’ to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition.
Commonwealth [is] the latest book by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, whose Empire and Multitude have, arguably, been the dominant works of political philosophy of the new century…[It's] the much-anticipated final volume of the Empire trilogy. Artforum 20091001 Commonwealth is a timely contribution to our understanding of contemporary capitalist relations and the potential revolutionary conditions they create.
Together Hardt and Negri’s work is considered to be responsible for a resurgence of interest in non-orthodox Marxism and its political manifestations. Commonwealth is the final part of a trilogy that began with Empire in 2000, a book that was published during the emergence of the alter-globalization movement. Multitude followed in 2004, developing the ideas that had been introduced in Empire, in particular the concept of the multitude as a new revolutionary subject. Commonwealth is a worthy addition to the trilogy, expamnding and clarifying on the understandings in the previous books, but perhaps more significantly grounding their analysis within an extended discussion of “the common.”
Commonwealth is a book that challenges presuppositions about the utility of Marx, and introduces the possibility of combining his insights with the ideas of other significant authors such as Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, who are not traditionally associated with the radical communist project.
Memory, History, Forgetting by Paul Ricoeur
A landmark work, “Memory, History, Forgetting” examines the reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, revealing how this symbiosis influences both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. A momentous achievement in Ricoeur’s career, this book provides the crucial link between his “Time and Narrative” and “Oneself as Another”, and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation.
“His success in revealing the internal relations between recalling and forgetting, and how this dynamic becomes problematic in light of events once present but now past, will inspire academic dialogue and response but also holds great appeal to educated general readers in search of both method for and insight from considering the ethical ramifications of modern events…. It is indeed a master work, not only in Ricoeur’s own vita but also in contemporary European philosophy.”
“Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy – critical, economical, and clear.”
New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Paul Ricoeur (1913 – 2005) was the John Nuveen Professor in the Divinity School, the Department of Philosophy, and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His books include Oneself as Another, the three-volume Time and Narrative, and The Just, all published by the University of Chicago Press. Kathleen Blamey teaches philosophy at California State University, East Bay and has taught at the American University in Paris. David Pellauer is professor of philosophy at DePaul University.
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