How should one understand the nature and possibilities of political radicalism today? The political radical is normally thought of as someone who stands on the left, opposing backward-looking conservatism. In the present day, however, the left has turned defensive, while the right has become radical, advocating the free play of market forces no matter what obstacles of tradition or custom stand in their way.
What explains such a curious twist of perspective? In answering this question Giddens develops a new framework for radical politics, drawing freely on what he calls philosophic conservatism , but applying this outlook in the service of values normally associated with the Left. The ecological crisis is at the core of this analysis, but is understood by Giddens in an unconventional way - as a response to a world in which modernity has run up against its limits as a social and moral order. The end of nature, as an entity existing independently of human intervention, and the end of tradition, combined with the impact of globalization, are the forces which now have to be confronted, made use of and coped with.
This book provides a powerful interpretation of the rise of fundamentalism, of democracy, the persistence of gender divisions and the question of a normative political theory of violence. It will be essential reading for anyone seeking a novel approach to the political challenges which we face at the turn of the twenty-first century.
Country of Publication:
23 October 1994
Professional and scholarly
Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly
A / AS level
Preface. Introduction. 1. Conservatism: Radicalism Embraced. 2. Socialism: The Retreat from Radicalism. 3. The Social Revolutions of Our Time. 4. Two Theories of Democratization. 5. Contradictions of the Welfare State. 6. Generative Politics and Positive Welfare. 7. Positive Welfare, Poverty and Life Values. 8. Modernity under a Negative Sign: Ecological Issues and Life Politics. 9. Political Theory and the Problem of Violence. 10. Questions of Agency and Values. Notes. Index.
Anthony Giddens is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Reviews for Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics
It is difficult to imagine social-scientific thought and practice in Britain and much of Continental Europe without the distinctive contribution of Anthony Giddens. His prolific work has the unique merit of tying together the rich tradition of modern social thought with the challenges of whatever is new and unprecedented in what he has called the late modern or post-traditional world. Times Literary Supplement At a time when the pundits are already picking through the ruins of a rapidly disintegrating Conservative Government, anticipating the all-but-inevitable triumph of Tony Blair's seductive socialism, Beyond Left and Right offers a timely critique of it all. Times Higher Education Supplement Giddens's discussion usefully joins seemingly disparate issues and political perspectives ... This work outlines a promising path for more detailed research. Ethics I would recommend this book. It has given me some new insights into old problems and made me realise again the importance of dialogue in interpersonal relations. That in itself is a very small step towards a better world. New Times The texture and range of Giddens's argument is as important as his conclusions. His frequent asides are often insightful and contribute to the sense that one is reading both a major work of scholarship and the crystallisation of many years of thought. Renewal It is impossible to locate this excellent text in any one area of interest: few could fail to gain anything from it. Aslib Book Guide The author seeks to analyse the far-reaching social changes now taking place with the help of a number of new, thought-provoking concepts. Labour Research Anthony Giddens, in Beyond Left and Right, spoke perspicuously of the conditions of 'manufactured uncertainty' in postmodern societies. Contemporary Review