Counter-History of the Present

Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy

Book Pages: 160 Illustrations: Published: May 2017

Politics > Political Theory, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy

In Counter-History of the Present Gabriel Rockhill contests, dismantles, and displaces one of the most widespread understandings of the contemporary world: that we are all living in a democratized and globalized era intimately connected by a single, overarching economic and technological network. Noting how such a narrative fails to account for the experiences of the billions of people who lack economic security, digital access, and real political power, Rockhill interrogates the ways in which this grand narrative has emerged in the same historical, economic, and cultural context as the fervid expansion of neoliberalism. He also critiques the concurrent valorization of democracy, which is often used to justify U.S. military interventions on the behalf of capital. Developing an alternative account of the current conjuncture that acknowledges the plurality of lived experiences around the globe and in different social strata, he shifts the foundations upon which debates about the contemporary world can be staged. Rockhill's counter-history thereby offers a new grammar for historical narratives, creating space for the articulation of futures no longer engulfed in the perpetuation of the present.


"A high level polemic attacking the current enthusiasm for the notion of globalization—which Gabriel Rockhill regards as a feature of the political imaginary of our time—Counter-History of the Present will be discussed alongside work by Jameson, Harvey, and Lyotard." — Andrew Feenberg, author of The Philosophy of Praxis: Marx, Lukács, and the Frankfurt School

"In an era that, according to Lyotard, was supposed to have seen the end of the grand narratives, a grand narrative is spreading according to which globalization, technological development, and democracy are irresistibly marching forward in step. Gabriel Rockhill refutes this apologetic discourse not simply by appealing to growing social polarization, to shantytowns condemned to backwardness, to the toppling of democratically elected governments established by self-styled champions of democracy. Counter-History of the Present is also an occasion for critical reflection on a series of theoretical categories (beginning with that of history) that dominant contemporary thought employs in an apologetic and often Eurocentric sense. In this way, Rockhill’s book is thus an important reference point for understanding and transforming the present." — Domenico Losurdo, author of War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gabriel Rockhill is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and the author, editor, and translator of many books, including Jacques Rancière: History, Politics, Aesthetics, also published by Duke University Press, and Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction. Toward a Counter-History of the Present  1
1. A Specter Is Haunting Globalization  11
2. Are We Really Living in a Technological Era?  33
3. What Is the Use of Democracy? Urgency of an Inappropriate Question  51
Afterword. Taking Charge of the Meanings and Direction of History  103
Notes  109
Bibliography  133
Index  143
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6976-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6964-6
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