Untimely Politics

New York University Press (2003)
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Abstract

"[T]he richness of his analysis, [...] his poststrucuralist emphasis on genealogy, historicity, temporality, and discourse can supplement the sometimes arid terms of the agency/structure debate. [...] An invitation to readers who might not normally turn to Continental theory for methodological inspiration, to learn from Chamber's splendid, and, yesy, timely volume." -Diana Coole, Queen Mary University of London , from a book review in the June 04 Perspectives The standard, linear view of history is founded on the belief that political outcomes are predetermined by what has gone before. This book challenges this view, arguing for what Samuel A. Chambers calls an untimely politics which renders the past problematic and the future unpredictable. This pathbreaking argument is advanced through a close reading of key texts in political theory and by entering into debates involving metaphysics, philosophy of language, and psychoanalysis versus discursive analysis. Chambers focuses on the theme of the relevance of language analysis to political debate, answering those critics who insist discourse approaches to politics are irrelevant. Heidegger, Nietzsche, Foucault and Derrida are used to challenge the political burden which is placed on language analysis to prove its value in the real world. Drawing from political theory and cultural studies Chambers takes on the same-sex marriage debate, showing how the use and misuse of language has contributed to an impasse that is not likely to be broken. Wide ranging and insightful, Untimely Politics makes a timely plea for a more politically relevant and culturally engaged form of intellectual engagement.

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