Thursday, August 06, 2009

Fundamentalism and fanatacism

[Fanatacism A genealogy of fanatacism—unearthing its long history, before it became a tool in the Clash of Civilizations Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed. Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants’ War of early sixteenth-century Germany, to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of “reasonableness” and fanaticism. Instead, in a radical new interpretation, he places the fanatic at the very heart of politics, arguing that historical and revolutionary transformations require a new understanding of its role. Showing how fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism.
Alberto Toscano is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production, translator of Alain Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds and co-editor of Alain Badiou's Theoretical Writings and On Beckett. He has published numerous articles on contemporary philosophy, politics and social theory, and is an editor of Historical Materialism. Publication November 2009 288 pages Cloth ISBN-13: 978 1 84467 424 4 US$26.95 / £26.99 / CAN$33.50]

May be the book will be in demand at the forthcoming “Fundamentalism and the Future” Conference (September 11-12). [TNM]

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