Hemisphere left. A map of the new critical thoughts

Hemisferio izquierda. Un mapa de los nuevos pensamientos críticos

Entertaining and enlightening get-together, this work constitutes a valuable mapping intellectual with wide-ranging historical and sociological, as well as an indispensable instrument for navigating the new landscape of critical thoughts.

Since the second half of the decade of the nineties witnessed the return of social and political critique. The demonstrations otherglobalists to the campaigns against the european Constitution, going by the advance election of the extreme left and the mobilizations against insecure employment, to the left of the left has come out of the “great nightmare” of the eighties with renewed force. The criticism, however, is not only on the street, the battle of ideas is, if anything, more fruitful and rewarding than the previous one.

Developed by authors such as Toni Negri, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Giorgio Agamben, Fredric Jameson, Gayatri Spivak, or Axel Honneth, the radical thinking has returned. What are the theories that accompany the emergence of new social struggles? How do they differ from those that characterized traditionally the workers ‘ movement?

This book aims to, from an international perspective, to map out the new landscape of critical thinking and serve as a compass for the reader who is introduced in the thought of these new theorists of the left. Thus, this volume becomes an essential guide to analyze, understand and deepen in the work, and the theory of a large part of the intellectuals most prestigious of the last two decades.


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The periodization – Towards a geography of critical thoughts – Of one ice age to another – The globalization of critical thinking – The abundance of references


Alienation and the crisis of the subject of emancipation – The question of power – Echoes of structuralism – A review of the “thought of ’68” – To the new critical theories


The converts – The pessimists – resistant – innovators – experts – leaders



Michael Hardt and Toni Negri, or the “joy of being communist” – the renewal of The theories of imperialism – The nation-State; do persistence or overcoming? – Capitalism, old and new


The event – democratic Posfeminidades – Class against class – identities conflicting



Review of the English edition by Rafael Rojas

In his book The Left Hemisphere (Verso, 2013), the professor of the Sorbonne, Razmig Keucheyan, it was proposed to draw a map of what he calls “critical theory contemporary”. To the naked eye, the object of their study may be too comprehensive, but when we move in the book noticed that Keucheyan is not interested in the whole “critical theory” but one that occurs within the borders of the radicalism of the left.

The book of Keucheyan runs through the concept of “empire”, “multitude” and the “cognitive capitalism” by Michael Hardt and Tony Negri, the new theory of the imperialism of Leon Panitch, Robert Cox, and David Harvey, the debate over the “exception” and states postnacionales in Giorgio Agamben, Étienne Balibar, Jürgen Habermas, Wang Hui, Benedict Anderson and Tom Nairn, the critique of capitalism of technology Robert Brenner, Giovanni Arrighi, Elmar Alveter and Luc Boltanski.

The map of Keucheyan covers, of course, other areas, most well-thought neomarxista as the philosophy of the “event” and the “subject” in Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Zizek, postcolonialism and feminist theory in Gayatri Spivak, Judith Butler and Donna Haraway, the new interpretation of the class conflict in E. P. Thompson, Erik Olin Wright and Alvaro Garcia Linera or the clash of identities, collective and hegemony policies in Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, Seyla Benhabid, Achille Mbembe, Ernesto Laclau, and Fredric Jameson.

But, beyond the map, the book of Keucheyan intervenes in the terrain of the history and politics of the thinking of the left, in which we found so many relevant observations as visions stereotypes and even prejudices. For example, Keucheyan tells a story exceedingly limited, not to say sectarian, of the New Left, which leaves out important currents of the same, especially in New York, as of the last trotskysmo, democratic socialism, black nationalism, or, specifically, the Black Panthers.

The story of the New Left, from the “story of the defeat” of the 68, it produces generalizations. And produces, also, concealments geographic as the low treatment of the thought of the decolonization of the Third World or, specifically, of Latin America. The only thinker of Latin america which, in addition to Laclau, it appears in the map Keucheyan is the bolivian vice-president García Linera and some of the passages, as that in which it presents to the argentine José Aricó and Juan Carlos Portantiero, as part of the “derechización neo-liberal”, for their support to the democratic transition and its approximation to social democracy, in the 80’s, are very questionable.

Despite these blurs, the book of Keucheyan has hit undeniable as the recognition of the contribution of post-structuralism from france in the 70’s and 80’s to the articulation of the neomarxismo recent -a debt which is not all that involved in the contemporary debate on the left, that loaded with old apprehensions against postmodernism, are willing to recognize. Keucheyan, in addition, is frank when he admits that the critical theory of the left is, increasingly, an academic subject, specifically of the american universities, and located the historical roots of the progressive intellectualization of socialism in the marxist theory west of the mid-TWENTIETH century. There is not the slightest attempt, here, to cover up the mismatch between the theories and the practices of the radical left.

Pablo Rojas in the Books of the twilight (25/10/2013)


Presentation in The Tuerka Pablo Iglesias

Brief review about the author

Hemisferio izquierda. Un mapa de los nuevos pensamientos críticos

Razmig Keucheyan is doctor in sociology and professor at the University of Sorbonne, Paris-IV. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Contretemps, founded by Daniel Bensaïd, and director of the collection “Essais”, published by Prairies ordinaires. He is the author of Le Constructivisme. Des origines à nos jours, (Hermann, Paris, 2007).

Razmig Keucheyan was born the 20 of November of 1975, he began his studies at Geneva , where he began to be active in the group solidaritéS. Phd in sociology in 2005 under the direction of Raymond Boudon.

The work of Razmig Keucheyan is part of the marxist tradition, classic and contemporary. It is recognized as a specialist in the thought of Antonio Gramsci. He has also worked on other topics such as ecology and seeks to demonstrate that the ecological crisis is not independent of the issues and the political struggles. Argues that the environmental impacts due to human activities, mainly affecting the people and the classes mastered.

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