Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea

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9781786630544: Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea
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A genealogy of fanaticism—unearthing its long history, before it became a tool in the Clash of Civilizations

It is commonplace to hear fanaticism described as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs, an assertion that helps to demonize convictions outside political orthodoxy. Alberto Toscano’s compelling and erudite counter-history explodes this accepted convention by exploring the critical role fanaticism played in the formation of modern politics and the liberal state. Showing how fanaticism results from a failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism.

This expanded edition includes new material that revisits the idea of fanaticism as it operates at the limits of the liberal political imaginary, highlighting its relation to fraternal violence, political purity and the refusal of compromise, as well as its centrality to times of social crisis and international conflict.

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About the Author:

Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths University, London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production: Philosophy and Individuation Between Kant and Deleuze and (with Jeff Kinkle) Cartographies of the Absolute.

Review:

“Succinct yet expansively allusive in scope, dense yet highly readable, Fanaticism is a multi-levelled investigation into the role that the idea of the fanatic has played in political discourse.”
—Mark Fisher, Frieze

“A tour de force in every sense—Toscano wipes the smug smiles off the self-righteous faces of the New Philosophers.”
—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“Gets the synapses firing ... The book has brio, it is bolstered by wide-ranging scholarship and it will make you re-examine one of the most dangerous words in the political lexicon.”
Catholic Herald

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Book Description Verso Books, United Kingdom, 2017. Paperback. Condition: New. New, Expanded. Language: English . Brand New Book. The idea of fanaticism as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano s compelling and erudite counter-history explodes this accepted interpretation in exploring the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state. Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants War of early sixteenth-century Germany to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of reasonableness and fanaticism. Instead, in a radical new interpretation, he places the fanatic at the very heart of politics, arguing that historical and revolutionary transformations require a new understanding of his role. Showing how fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism. Seller Inventory # AAJ9781786630544

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