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Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? , Mark Fisher, Winchester: Zero Books, 2009

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? , Mark Fisher, Winchester: Zero Books, 2009 Abstract Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? is a provocative polemical analysis of the narrowing of political horizons that has occurred over the past couple of decades and of the powerful ideological grip that capitalism holds on the collective, social psyche, destroying our capacity to imagine political alternatives. Fisher seeks to illuminate the major cultural and social effects of a post-Cold War politico-ideological condition in which (according to Žižek’s well-known observation) ‘it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism’. Building on this analysis, Fisher identifies some key tensions and contradictions in the ideological armour of contemporary capitalism and extrapolates from this some tentative strategic propositions for the anticapitalist Left. This review-article argues that, while Fisher’s book provides valuable conceptual and strategic resources for the Left, it is hamstrung by several weaknesses – not the least of these a tendency to make unconvincing, sweeping claims about the novelty and distinctness of what Fisher terms ‘capitalist realism’ and a tendency to present a caricature of current left-wing thinking. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Historical Materialism Brill

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? , Mark Fisher, Winchester: Zero Books, 2009

Historical Materialism , Volume 20 (1): 222 – Jan 1, 2012

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
1465-4466
eISSN
1569-206X
DOI
10.1163/156920612X632827
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? is a provocative polemical analysis of the narrowing of political horizons that has occurred over the past couple of decades and of the powerful ideological grip that capitalism holds on the collective, social psyche, destroying our capacity to imagine political alternatives. Fisher seeks to illuminate the major cultural and social effects of a post-Cold War politico-ideological condition in which (according to Žižek’s well-known observation) ‘it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism’. Building on this analysis, Fisher identifies some key tensions and contradictions in the ideological armour of contemporary capitalism and extrapolates from this some tentative strategic propositions for the anticapitalist Left. This review-article argues that, while Fisher’s book provides valuable conceptual and strategic resources for the Left, it is hamstrung by several weaknesses – not the least of these a tendency to make unconvincing, sweeping claims about the novelty and distinctness of what Fisher terms ‘capitalist realism’ and a tendency to present a caricature of current left-wing thinking.

Journal

Historical MaterialismBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2012

Keywords: critique of everyday life; capitalist ideology; philosophy; bureaucratisation; strategy; cultural criticism; book-reviews; Marxist political theory; neoliberalism

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