Issue #148 October – Utopia in Chaos

Utopia in Chaos

Volume 148 Issue 1, October 2018



(Plebiscitary) leader democracy: The return of an illusion?

Alan Scott

There is a revival of notions of leader democracy (LD) and plebiscitary leader democracy (PLD) both at the level of politics (e.g. the rhetoric of strong leadership) and in academic debate. This paper focuses largely on the latter, with occasional reference to real-world political developments. The paper (i) sketches changes in the nature of contemporary governance; (ii) argues that Weber’s and Schumpeter’s account of (plebiscitary) leader democracy ((P)LD) as a means of addressing the crisis of representation has marked affinities with current debates; (iii) discusses the possible implications of the re-emergence of a political language of (P)LD. The paper takes a sceptical view, arguing that an appeal to leadership is a symptom of, and contributor towards, the problems it purports to address. Two contemporary defences of (P)LD are discussed: that of the political scientist András Körösényi and that of the political theorist Jeffery Green.

Alienation, reification and the antinomies of production: On the theoretical development of György Márkus

J F Dorahy

In recent years, the works of György Márkus – a member of what has been dubbed the ‘Budapest School’ – have begun to generate an increasingly sophisticated and vibrant discussion. The present essay seeks to contribute to this burgeoning body of critical literature by offering a summary account and evaluation of the evolution of Márkus’s thought from the critique of alienation developed during the 1960s through to his post-Marxist philosophy of culture in the latter decades of the 20th century. It does so with the intention of answering what is arguably the question confronting the contemporary reception of Márkus’s body of work: in what relation do Márkus’s later works stand to the aspirations and ideals of his early, more explicitly Marxist writings?

Their is no they’re: Wittgenstein on pluralistic democracy
Margaret Mary Riley

How does mutual intelligibility impact the political sphere? This paper uses Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as a means of examining this connection. I argue that Wittgenstein’s paradigm of a dialectical world suggests that his analysis of mutual intelligibility in understanding experiences is necessary in a pluralistic democracy. I conclude that via his theory of social reality politics is a dynamic dialectical process of communicating experiences.

Moral geometry, natural alignments and utopian urban form: A comparative study of Campanella, Le Corbusier and King T’aejo’s Seoul

Jean-Paul Baldacchino

The city has featured as a central image in utopian thought. In planning the foundation of the new and ideal city there is a close interconnection between ideas about urban form and the vision of the moral good. The spatial structure of the ideal city in these visions is a framing device that embodies and articulates not only political philosophy but is itself an articulation of moral and cosmological systems. This paper analyses three different utopian moments in three different historical epochs – Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun (1602), the Choson dynasty foundation of the city of Seoul (1395) and the modernist utopian urbanism of the controversial Le Corbusier (1887–1965). In this analysis attention is drawn to the cosmological and moral visions articulated in these three ‘images of the city’ (Lynch). The opposition between rationalistic/mechanistic and religious/traditional urban design can prove to be an oversimplification that obscures the complex interrelations between the moral geometry and the natural alignments of the ideal urban form.

Window into chaos

Cornelius Castoriadis, Andrew Cooper

This is the first English translation of a remarkable two-part lecture given by Cornelius Castoriadis at the École des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in January 1992. The lecture features within a series on social transformation and the task of creative forms of labour. In this installment Castoriadis explores the significance of art through a creative reading of Aristotle’s famous definition of tragedy in the Poetics. He rejects Aristotle’s dependence on the mimetic tradition in search for a vision of art as the unveiling of the creative resources that lie within the human being. Yet he retains Aristotle’s vivid depiction of art as a form of production that is at once cognitive, emotive and social. Art, for Castoriadis, affects a transformation on the level of imagination that opens us anew to the fundamental questions of human being and doing. Through his extensive knowledge of western forms of artistic production Castoriadis draws lucid connections between Aristotle, Shakespeare, Kant, Hegel, Greek sculpture, renaissance painting, modern literature and folk music to explore the work of art as a ‘window into chaos’, a creative production that gives form to what cannot be formed: the ground of creativity at the heart of the imagination.


Barry Hindess: On the personal and the theoretical

Mitchell Dean

Review essay:

Stuart Hall: Problems of the Conjuncture

Rjurik Davidson


Book reviews:

A Dictionary of Postmodernism

Chamsy el-Ojeili          

The Liquidation of the Church

Kieran Flanagan

Prometheanism: Technology, Digital Culture and Human Obsolescence

Keith Tester

A Farewell to Truth, Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx

Sid Simpson

R.H.I.: Two Novellas

Peter Beilharz

Modernism and the Making of the New Soviet Man

Peter Beilharz


One thought on “Issue #148 October – Utopia in Chaos

  1. Pingback: Issue #148 October – Utopia in Chaos — thesis eleven – Social Studies of Science

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