Book Notes: The Great Regression

I had high hopes for this collection of articles on the current political climate but it proved a disappointment. Most of the articles offer nothing but superficial, trite slogans, the likes of which you can easily find on your Facebook wall in great abundance. Here is a small recap of each author’s ideas:

Arjun Appadurai – Germany is the only truly European country and if only it decides to practice its true Europeanness by disregarding the wishes of the not-really-European everybody else in Europe and brings in more immigrants, soon enough golden age will begin.

Zygmunt Bauman – intolerance is bad, Pope Francis is good, and everybody must become cosmopolitan because it’s the only decent thing to be.

Donatella della Porta – Occupy and Indignados achieved great success. Nobody knows what it consists of but it was still a great success. 

Nancy Fraser – this article also has a ton of empty sloganeering but at least it introduces a very useful concept of progressive neoliberalism. So this piece was not a waste of time. 

 Eva Illouz – this was actually a useful read. Illouz traces the history of Israel’s political divide. I knew very little in the subject and enjoyed the article. The conclusions are dumb (the Mizrahim are just like Trump voters because they don’t live in big cities), but the body of the piece is OK.

Ivan Krastev – you can’t have globalization, democracy and self-determination all at once. Something has to go. And it won’t be globalization, that’s for sure. This is an important point, so I’m glad to have read the piece by Mr Krastev.

Bruno Latour – the reason for Brexit is that the UK wants to restore its 19th century empire (huh?) We are all on the Titanic! Oblivious to the approaching demise! It’s all in the same overwrought vein and utterly useless. 

[To be continued. . .]


One thought on “Book Notes: The Great Regression”

  1. These probably were all published in a non-research magazine beforehand, right?

    There’s an editor out there who cared enough to put together a book at fairly rapid speed in book terms. That means there’ll probably be more in-depth followup standalone pieces down the line.


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