With this issue, Contributions to the History of Concepts, a publication of the History of Political and Social Concepts Group (HPSCG), relaunches under the auspices of a new publisher and new sponsorship, and with a new editorial team. Berghahn Journals, the new publisher, is an independent scholarly publisher in the humanities and social sciences. The new host and sponsor is the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, an intellectual center for the interdisciplinary study and discussion of issues related to philosophy, society, culture and education.
Leonid Mikhailovich Goryushkin (1927–1999)
After a long and serious illness, the celebrated Russian historian of Siberia, Leonid Mikhailovich Goryushkin, died on 26 September 1999 at the age of 71 in Novosibirsk. At the time of his death, he was the first Director of the newlyformed Institute of History at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SO RAN), previously part of the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (SO AN SSSR) where he had worked for thirty-six years.
Andrew Benjamin and Francesco Borghesi
This special issue arose from a workshop on “Peace and Concord from Plato to Lessing”, organised by the editors and which took place at the University of Sydney on 18 and 19 September 2017. Central to the work of both the editors is the relationship between the concepts of ‘concord’, ‘peace’ and ‘dignity’ within a setting created by a concern with the development of a philological anthropology. Their work combines both intellectual history and philosophy, a combination that is reflected in the contents of the special issue of Theoria. The importance of these terms is that they allow for another interpretation of the ethical and the political. Central to both is the location of human being within a larger cultural context. That context demands an approach in which philosophy does not exclude history, and history recognises that it is already informed philosophically. If there is a unifying term, it is ‘culture’. The approach taken within the larger project starts with the centrality of culture as that which demands to be thought. And yet culture is neither tranquil nor unified. As Walter Benjamin argued, there ‘is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism’. Allowing for culture’s centrality entails a reconfiguration of both philosophy and intellectual history.
Natália da Silva Perez
Derek Ryan’s Virginia Woolf and the Materiality of Theory is an exploration of “Woolf’s writing alongside Deleuze’s philosophy and new materialist theories of ‘sex’, ‘animal’ and ‘life’.” What might at first glance sound like yet another exegetical effort to elucidate new meanings in Woolf’s writing—this time using new materialist approaches—is in fact a claim towards an understanding of Woolf’s literary practice as itself a form of theorizing. In Ryan’s intriguing study, Woolf emerges as a precursor of, and inspiration for, contemporary philosophical and critical approaches that privilege matter and material relations as productive venues for “nonanthropocentric conceptualizations” of the world (9).
Phyllis Sutton Morris, co-founder of the Sartre Society of North America and member of its executive committee for several years, died on May 31, 1997 from complications due to cancer. Phyllis received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and her doctorate from the University of Michigan. She taught for several years at Kirkland College in New York and was, at various times in more recent years, on the faculty at LeMoyne College, Oberlin College, and the University of Michigan. She was a devoted teacher who dedicated a great deal of time and energy to preparing her classes and to meeting with students.
Rikki Dean, Jean-Paul Gagnon, and Hans Asenbaum
What is democratic theory? The question is surprisingly infrequently posed. Indeed, the last time this precise question appears in the academic archive was exactly forty years ago, in James Alfred Pennock’s (1979) book Democratic Political Theory. This is an odd discursive silence not observable in other closely aligned fields of thought such as political theory, political science, social theory, philosophy, economic theory, and public policy/administration – each of which have asked the “what is” question of themselves on regular occasion. The premise of this special issue is, therefore, to pose the question anew and break this forty-year silence.
In the spring and summer of 1938 two quite different seminars took place in Paris. One was the very well-known Collège de Sociologie, which included the participation of Caillois and Bataille – see ‘Sacred Sociology of the Contemporary World’, 2 April 1938, and the session ‘Festival’, 2 May 1939, in which Caillois indicates the importance of sacred games (in Hollier 1988: 157–159, 279–303). The other was the Walter Lippman Colloque, 26–30 August 1938 (in Rougier 1939). The former was the significant forerunner of French sociology and philosophy – from Derrida to Baudrillard – decisively influenced by Marcel Mauss.
The title rightly suggests that I shall be attempting to give a view of Bourdieu’s perception of Durkheim. I shall not try to judge whether Bourdieu’s perception of Durkheim was correct, nor shall I seek to compare the validity of the positions adopted by Durkheim and Bourdieu. Instead, I shall concentrate on the general context of Bourdieu’s view of Durkheim and focus on Bourdieu’s references to Durkheim in two important texts – the first is an article entitled ‘Sociology and Philosophy in France since 1945: death and resurrection of a philosophy without subject’, published in Social Research in 1967, and the second a book published in 1968 with the title: Le métier de sociologue. It should also be noted that the article was written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Passeron and the book was written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Chamboredon as well as Jean-Claude Passeron (referred to throughout as Bourdieu et al.). I focus on Bourdieu’s view of Durkheim’s work, but one of the points which will become clear is that Bourdieu found it difficult to dissociate his judgement of Durkheim’s intellectual endeavour from his view of Durkheim’s social significance and from his view of the adverse influence of the Durkheimians. I shall make two asides which will suggest ways in which it is clear that the development of Bourdieu’s thinking and career was affected by the consequences of Durkheim’s influence rather more than by the substance of his writing.
Hollie MacKenzie and Iain MacKanzie
In this article we focus on the potential for an alignment of certain feminist artistic practices and poststructuralist conceptions of critique that may enable ways of theorizing practices of resistance and engender ways of practicing resistance in theory, without the lurch back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. It will be claimed that an ontological conception of art, considered as that which makes a difference in the world, can not only challenge the primacy of the dogmatic and masculine ‘subject who judges’, but also instill ways of thinking about, and ways of enacting, feminist artistic encounters with the capacity to resist dogmatism. The theoretical stakes of this claim are elaborated through complimentary readings of Deleuze and Guattari’s constructivist account of philosophy and Irigaray’s feminist explorations of what it means to think from within the 'labial', rather than from the position of the dominant phallic symbolic order. We argue that this creative conjunction between Irigaray, Deleuze, and Guattari provides the resources for a conceptualisation of both feminist artistic practice and the critical practice of poststructuralist philosophy as forms of resistance to the dominant patriarchal order, in ways that can avoid the collapse back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. Revel’s discussion of the role of constituent rather than constituted forms of resistance is employed to draw out the implications of this position for contentious politics. It is concluded that constituent practices of resistance can be understood as a challenge to the phallogocentric symbolic order to the extent that they are practices of a labial art-politics.
The first issue of volume four of Sartre Studies International exemplifies the full range of Sartre’s intellectual output: literary, philosophical and political. Three articles by Colin Davis, Edward Greenwood and Paul Reed are centred on the multiple interactions in Sartre’s work between philosophy and literature. In a penetrating analysis of Sartre’s Le Mur, Colin Davis explores the complex relationship between ethics and fiction, between Moral Law and jouissance. ‘The lie of Sartre’s narrator in “Le Mur”’, contends Davis, ‘represents a way of sharing the pain of his/her powerlessness and mortality’, and is coincidental with ‘an assault through fiction on the reader whose power to judge and comprehend is wrested away’.