Bearing Society in Mind

Published by Rowman & Littlefield International in late 2014, Bearing Society in Mind launches Paul Bowman’s Disruptions series for RLI (see below). It is available now in hardback, paperback, and in a variety of ebook formats. amazonRLIiTunes

Praise for the Book
In this astute and engaging new book Samuel Chambers shows how radical theory ‘after’ Marx can and must ‘return’ to Marx if it is to realize its critical potential. Chambers’ goal is not to reject movements such as post-structuralism but to retrieve and recreate for them the concept of ‘social formation’ through which we can see better the shape of the present and the kinds of action that open on to what comes next. The book sets out with clarity and conviction the challenge to which a serious contemporary political theory must rise.

Alan Finlayson, Professor of Political and Social Theory, University of East Anglia

Brief Description

To “bear society in mind” is always to insist that all theoretical, philosophical, or conceptual work goes on against an institutional, material, and political background. “Social formation” is a name for “society” that takes this process seriously; “social formation” indicates the way in which the fabric of “society” – of the social and political orders that we live in – is made up by threads that are simultaneously economic, social, political, and cultural. This book makes the strongest case possible for the theoretical importance and political necessity of the concept of the social formation, yet it simultaneously demonstrates that “social formation” proves to be a very particular and peculiar type of “concept” – it is not a reflection or model of the world, but is definitively and concretely bound up with and constitutive of the world. To theorize the social formation (and the politics thereof) means to embed one’s very activity of theorizing deeply within the context being studied; knowledge of the social formation is therefore always a part of the social formation.

More about the Disruptions Series, edited by Paul Bowman

This series seeks both to study and to precipitate disruptions. It publishes academic monographs
that interrogate and analyse disruptions within and across such fields and disciplines as culture and
society, media and technology, literature and philosophy, aesthetics and politics. Its aim is both to
explore and to produce disruptions. To this end, it is therefore both interdisciplinary and
antidisciplinary. It proposes that disruptions in one context or field, realm or register, are likely to
emanate from another field. So interdisciplinarity is essential to such exploration and analysis,
because disruptions in culture, society, politics or philosophy might derive from the disturbance
caused by forces, events or transformation in media, technology, science, economics, and so on.
Moreover, as much as there are relays and reciprocities, antagonisms and clashes both within and
across ‘fields’, so the very emergence of fields, contexts, relations and practices can be understood
as a consequence of disruptions.

Full details and other volumes already out in the series, available at the RLI website.


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Dr. Samuel A. Chambers
Department of Political Science
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD 21218, USA