Agnes Heller: Socialism, Autonomy and the Postmodern

Agnes Heller: Socialism, Autonomy and the Postmodern


By (author) Simon Tormey

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  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 235mm x 18mm | 336g
  • Publication date: 7 December 2001
  • Publication City/Country: Manchester
  • ISBN 10: 0719060389
  • ISBN 13: 9780719060380

Product description

This is an examination of the political thought of Agnes Heller, one of the most important thinkers of her generation. Her work covers a formidable range of subjects from Marxian anthropology, through aesthetics, the philosophy of history, "actually existing socialism", to postmodernism and the political forms of the modern state. Among her better known works are "Radical Philosophy", "General Ethics", "Beyond Justice", "A Theory of History" and, more recently, "Biopolitics" and "The Postmodern Political Condition". Heller is also considered one of the leading proponents of "ethical socialism", a variety of socialist thought which stresses the importance of responsibility, obligation and duty. Simon Tormey treats Heller's work partly historically and partly thematically, and places it in a postmodern, 21st century context. The work begins by tackling Heller's work on Marx's account of subjectivity and her own attempt to ground social theory in an account of individual needs. It then shows how she builds upon this model subject, examining her description of the relationship between the individual and the community. Simon Tormey then goes on to examine Heller's reformulation of Kantian ethics and her critique of other attempts to deploy ethics for conservative ends. Finally, the book assesses her most recent writings in which she looks at the prospects for socialism in a context in which the "postmodern condition" has come to hold sway.

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Author information

Simon Tormey is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Nottingham

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. The subject as starting point - towards a radical anthropology; 3. Individual and community - the phenomenology of everyday life; 4. The ethical tum - from public sphere to inner duty; 5. The politics of the postmodern - possibilities and perspectives; 6. Conclusion