Reform or Refusal? Living in Democratic Capitalism

Simon During

in Against Democracy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242542
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242580 | DOI:
Reform or Refusal? Living in Democratic Capitalism

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This chapter argues that forms of displaced revolutionary thinking have been more important to literary theory than reformist and liberal thinking. On the one side, it presents Maurice Blanchot's career as an example of how political and social revolutionary fervour has helped shape an influential account of literary writing. On the other side, it argues that the refusal/reform dichotomy is obsolete. Today, we cannot choose between them but need to embrace them both simultaneously. It presents a brief genealogy of this, perhaps rather counterintuitive, bicameral approach, which takes us deep into the history of Western thought and spiritual practice.

Keywords: Reform; refusal; Maurice Blanchot; neoliberalism; literary theory

Chapter.  9024 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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