The Ruling Ideas

The Ruling Ideas : Bourgeois Political Concepts

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The concepts that organize our thinking wield, by virtue of this fact, a great deal of political power. This book looks at five concepts whose dominion has increased, steadily, during the bourgeois period of modernity: Labor, Time, Property, Value, and Crisis. These ruling ideas are central not only to many academic disciplines- from philosophy and law to the political, social, and economic sciences- but also to everyday more

Product details

  • Paperback | 148 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 14mm | 220g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 Halftones, black and white
  • 0739192884
  • 9780739192887
  • 1,385,345

Review quote

In her engaging and engaged new book, Amy E. Wendling subjects five clusters of 'ruling ideas' in bourgeois societies to illuminating critiques. Probing the economic, political, social, and ethical implications of labor, time, property, value, and crisis, she locates these concepts historically, explores their ontological and epistemological underpinnings, and, in often surprising and thought-provoking ways, identifies their implications for everyday practices and large-scale crises. The author shows how ruling ideas are grounded in and transform social relations, are embodied and ingrained, provoke resistance and rebellion, and generate paradoxes and contradictions. The result is a powerful and accessible critique of ruling ideas and their role in sustaining inequality, domination, and injustice. -- Bob Jessop, Lancaster University, Lancaster University This book is certainly part of the current critical renewal of the Marxist tradition, but it will also be important to anyone interested in social and political philosophy, ethics and problems of bio-ethics, and to anyone who wants to understand the origin and significance of the ruling ideas of our times... The Ruling Ideas helps us to understand the present and what needs to be done, philosophically and politically, to invent a better future. Indeed, I think that this is a wonderful book and a very important contribution to various discourses and disciplines. -- Bruno Gulli, Long Island University Wendling (philosophy, Creighton Univ.) offers a Marxian reading of the concepts of labor, time, property, value, and crisis. The high point of the book is her analysis of water and property, which is thoughtful and insightful, and will be of value to others working in environmental ethics. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate collections. CHOICE An absolutely invaluable volume, The Ruling Ideas possesses enormous cross-interdisciplinary appeal, far beyond the realms of philosophy or political science. For sociologists, the question arises as to how much group behavior is shaped by these exploitative concepts. Environmentalists and bioethicists will find in Wendling's detailed discussion of the characteristics of property, as it relates to water conservation issues and the buying and selling of body parts, much theoretical background for their own work. Historians, especially, will discover their own research bolstered by the analysis offered herein; indeed, Wendling's analysis of home ownership in the light of the 2008 housing crisis calls to mind Barbara M. Kelly's Expanding the American Dream: Building and Rebuilding Levittown (1993). The Ruling Ideas reveals just how distant we remain from the horizon of true emancipation. Little wonder the continuing state of class-based oppression when even the concept of labor, for example, can so easily serve to reify bourgeois values, lending itself to the notion (even if not explicitly stated) that only those who labor-who perform specific acts of labor-have value, are citizens, are full persons. By making the commonplace uncommon, by uncovering the inhuman core of these ruling values, Wendling gives us the space to imagine a world truly different: a world in which people's experience of themselves no longer reflects that tired Cartesian dualism but instead joins mind and body in a seamless whole; a world in which time is not separate from real, lived experience; a world in which an ethic of obligation has replaced the discourse of rights, especially as those rights pertain to the ownership of things; a world in which moral value is not the measure of one's workday but rather embodied in one's basic existence. Marx & Philosophy Review of Booksshow more

About Amy E. Wendling

Amy E. Wendling is associate professor of philosophy at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Her first book Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation, was published by Palgrave Macmillan UK in 2009. She has, in addition, published numerous articles and given numerous lectures, both in the US and abroad. Herself a U.S. Fulbright Fellow to The Netherlands in 2003-4, Dr. Wendling now works with Creighton student applicants who have recently received Fulbright grants to Ecuador, Germany, and the Ukraine, among other places. Dr. Wendling is also involved in Creighton's Renewable Energy Technology more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: Labor Political Ontology The Category "Labor" Labor1: Ontology of the Self Labor2: Historical Mode of Activity Labor3: Category of Capitalist Modernity Conclusion: On Work and Identity Chapter 2: Time Abstract Time as a System of Domination Bourgeois Temporal Norms Resistances to Temporal Domination Rebellions against Temporal Domination Complicity with Temporal Domination Conclusion: Social Class and Temporality Chapter 3: Property Bourgeois Property and Ownership Is Water Property? Is Your Body Property? Conclusion: Does Property Help or Harm Us? Chapter 4: Value Use Value, Bourgeois Value, and The Work of Retrieval The Paradox of Value Imagining Value On Aristotle, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx Conclusion: Labor's Exchange Value Chapter 5: Crisis Political Economy Recurrence of Crisis Fall in the Rate of Profit The 2008 Economic Crisis and the False Desire of Home Ownership Conclusion: Crisis Writ Largeshow more