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Disjunction and Analysis

Ralf Dahrendorf, 19 February 1981

Sociological Journeys: Essays 1960-1980 
by Daniel Bell.
Heinemann, 370 pp., £12.50, December 1980, 0 435 82069 9
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... to the past as the key to the present. Some try to develop what they like to call Marxism, though Jürgen Habermas is one of the very few who do so with any degree of originality. Raymond Aron’s name must be mentioned, but his great analyses – though not Clausewitz and certain other books – are now somewhat dated. In this distinguished ...


J.P. Stern: This great wall has fallen down, 7 December 1989

... to the people than did the assorted ideologies from Rosa Luxemburg through Herbert Marcuse to Jürgen Habermas. Deep worries remain. Is all this not bound to lead to demands for the reunification of the two Germanies? When Chancellor Kohl declaimed, Wir sind ein Volk, could most of his audience fail to recall the rest of that slogan: ein Reich, ein ...


Diarmaid MacCulloch: Tudor Spin, 19 November 2009

Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in 16th-Century England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 588 pp., £30, April 2009, 978 0 300 14098 9
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... This was the small change of a ‘public sphere’ in English politics a century and more before Jürgen Habermas detected it in Central Europe: the outward and visible expression of a national society which had a much more ancient consciousness of being a single, centralised unit than anywhere else of similar size in Europe. Paradoxically, in an age ...

Not Just Anybody

Terry Eagleton: ‘The Limits of Critique’, 5 January 2017

The Limits of Critique 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17, October 2015, 978 0 226 29403 2
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... left must accordingly tread a narrow line between cynicism and credulity. There are thinkers like Jürgen Habermas, Raymond Williams and E.P. Thompson who can be too positive about ordinary human capabilities, and others like Michel Foucault, Alain Badiou and the later Frankfurt School who are a good deal too sceptical of them. This is​ a bold ...


Richard Rorty, 3 September 1987

Der Philosophische Diskurs der Moderne: Zwölf Vorlesungen 
by Jürgen Habermas.
Suhrkamp, 302 pp., £54, February 1985, 3 518 57702 6
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... is still reeling from Heidegger’s description of him as ‘the last metaphysician’. If Habermas has his way, we shall, from now on, have to think of Heidegger, Derrida and Foucault as philosophers who tried and failed to achieve something which they were doomed never to achieve, warped as they were by a fatal genetic inheritance – what ...

Vanity and Venality

Susan Watkins: The European Impasse, 29 August 2013

Un New Deal pour l’Europe 
by Michel Aglietta and Thomas Brand.
Odile Jacob, 305 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 2 7381 2902 4
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Gekaufte Zeit: Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Suhrkamp, 271 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 3 518 58592 4
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The Crisis of the European Union: A Response 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Ciaran Cronin.
Polity, 120 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 0 7456 6242 8
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For Europe! Manifesto for a Postnational Revolution in Europe 
by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Guy Verhofstadt.
CreateSpace, 152 pp., £9.90, September 2012, 978 1 4792 6188 8
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German Europe 
by Ulrich Beck, translated by Rodney Livingstone.
Polity, 98 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 0 7456 6539 9
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The Future of Europe: Towards a Two-Speed EU? 
by Jean-Claude Piris.
Cambridge, 166 pp., £17.99, December 2011, 978 1 107 66256 8
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Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain Left the EU? 
by David Charter.
Biteback, 334 pp., £14.99, December 2012, 978 1 84954 121 3
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... rallied to defend the new round of market-driven integration as the best of all possible outcomes. Jürgen Habermas devotes The Crisis of the European Union: A Response to demonstrating that the balance of power ‘has shifted dramatically within the organisational structure in favour of the European citizens’. Although the citizens themselves are ...

Foucault’s Slalom

David Hoy, 4 November 1982

Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics 
by Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, with an afterword by [afterword_writer].
Harvester, 256 pp., £18.95, October 1982, 0 7108 0450 4
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... rational social change is impossible. The charge of conservatism, levelled against Foucault by Jürgen Habermas, for instance, is still a difficult one for Foucault to rebut. Much depends on how his new conception of power is understood. In turn, the new method of his most recent books must be discerned without Foucault’s help, for since the ...

A General Logic of Crisis

Adam Tooze, 5 January 2017

How Will Capitalism End? 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Verso, 262 pp., £16.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 401 0
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... the euro could best be understood in terms proposed by the Frankfurt School. Social theorists like Jürgen Habermas, Claus Offe and others had been right, he said, when in the early 1970s they argued that democratic capitalism faced profound and irresolvable problems. What they had underestimated, however, was the sheer aggression of capital and the ...

To the Sunlit Uplands

Richard Rorty: A reply to Bernard Williams, 31 October 2002

Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy 
by Bernard Williams.
Princeton, 328 pp., £19.95, October 2002, 0 691 10276 7
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... and the Ethics. Contemporary philosophers who invoke Nietzsche, James, Dewey, Donald Davidson and Jürgen Habermas in order to strengthen their criticisms of the correspondence theory of truth typically share Nietzsche’s hope. They believe that the institutions and practices their critics see as threatened will in fact be strengthened by adopting ...

Pamphleteer’s Progress

Patrick Parrinder, 7 February 1985

The Function of Criticism: From the ‘Spectator’ to Post-Structuralism 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 133 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86091 091 1
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... propertied classes were more or less critics. The concept of a ‘public sphere’ is derived from Jürgen Habermas, and has been elaborated in Peter Hohendahl’s The Institution of Criticism, a book from which Eagleton quotes repeatedly. Within the ‘public sphere’ reasoned debate and informed value-judgment can take place in relative detachment from ...

A Journey through Ruins

Patrick Wright, 18 September 1986

The Infant and the Pearl 
by Douglas Oliver.
Ferry Press, 28 pp., £2, December 1985
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... I’ll shelve it at some distance from T.S. Eliot. Indeed, my copy will end up nearer to Jürgen Habermas, who first diagnosed this modern crisis of tradition – that it should be made more and more vitally necessary by the very same developments that erode it – in the early Seventies. In Oliver’s world this leading paradox finds different ...

Why Bosnia matters

Christopher Hitchens, 10 September 1992

... the regime in 1975, the magazine continued to publish as Praxis International under the aegis of Jürgen Habermas and other European and American sympathisers. Since the push for Greater Serbia began to ignite every other micronationalism in the region, I had not heard the voice of Praxis above the snarlings and the detonations. But in Zagreb I did ...

In the Twilight Zone

Terry Eagleton, 12 May 1994

The Frankfurt School 
by Rolf Wiggershaus, translated by Michael Robertson.
Polity, 787 pp., £45, January 1994, 0 7456 0534 6
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... student movement, who denounced him as an armchair radical. The mantle of the school passed to Jürgen Habermas, the Bishop of Durham of Marxism, proud to be counted among the believers but critical of just about every major item of the creed. The most detailed survey of the Frankfurt School to date has been Martin Jay’s The Dialectical ...

Sing, Prance, Ruffle, Bellow, Bristle and Ooze

Armand Marie Leroi: Social Selection, 17 September 1998

The Handicap Principle 
by Amotz Zahavi and Avishag Zahavi.
Oxford, 286 pp., £18.99, October 1997, 0 19 510035 2
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The Social Animal 
by W.G. Runciman.
HarperCollins, 230 pp., £14.99, February 1998, 0 00 255862 9
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... sociologist’s mock profundities. But he might just as well have picked on a fresher target, Jürgen Habermas, say. Still, this surely hints that Runciman intends The Social Animal to do what Mills’s The Sociological Imagination did nearly forty years ago: capture the hearts and minds of generations of sociologists yet unborn. He intends to ...

Having one’s Kant and eating it

Terry Eagleton: Northrop Frye, 19 April 2001

Northrop Frye’s Late Notebooks 1982-90: Volume One 
edited by Robert Denham.
Toronto, 418 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 8020 4751 3
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Northrop Frye’s Late Notebooks 1982-90: Volume Two 
edited by Robert Denham.
Toronto, 531 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 8020 4752 1
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... a social pressure which it isn’t really robust enough to take, and end up producing in it what Jürgen Habermas has called ‘pathological symptoms’. The result will be an absurd inflation of this modest, marginal phenomenon, evident enough in the Leavisian faith that by analysing Hopkins’s syntax or Austen’s narrative form you were somehow ...

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