The deadest vole

by CarlD

Because it keeps sitting there staring at me, and because it says things at patient length that I occasionally wave my hands at in rushed panic, I have posted the current version of my dissertation/book in Stuffed Voles.

I never did find a title I liked for it – it dissertated as Indeterminacy, Irrationality, and Collective Will: Gramsci’s Marxism, Bourgeois Sociology, and the Problem of Revolution, really little better than a collection of search terms, later replaced with some mishmash about a prehistory of postmodernism that won’t do either. Nor am I sold that there’s an ideal audience of more than about two people for it in its current form. I have conflicting thoughts about different directions to push it. But I don’t work on it a lot. I got tenure without publishing it and happily spend most of my professional time teaching (4/4) and reading. There’s no rocket pushing it toward escape velocity.

Still, my advisor and committee were kind enough to let me write it like a book in the first place, so it hangs together ok and pretty accurately reflects the state of my knowledge and concerns at that time (early/mid ’90s). Although it’s just one of many possible versions of the story of the late-classical period of European social theory, with just one of many possible selections from the available cast of characters, it’s probably good enough to be among someone’s favorites. There are certain kinds of question people regularly get exercised about that it speaks to pretty well: rationality and irrationality, political culture, identity, social construction, contingency, critical standpoint, theory and practice. I’m saying if you’re in exactly the right mood it might be worth a look.

The period is roughly 1890-1930. People I talk about at some length include Kautsky, Bernstein, Sorel, Lenin, Lukács, Tasca, Bordiga, Machiavelli, Mosca, Michels, Pareto, Durkheim, Weber, and of course Gramsci.

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