A Theory Reading List

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by chilango, May 11, 2018.

  1. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    What would people recommend as seminal/essential/must read books?

    Critical theory/political/marxish stuff really.
     
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    unfinished business: the politics of class war

    for many years i'd never have suggested marx but i think that the german ideology and the economic & political manuscripts of 1844 very useful - and capital turns up in all sorts of places

    lefebvre's production of space and soja's postmodern geographies
     
    chilango likes this.
  3. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    I've read unfinished business :)
     
  4. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    Can I piggy back on this thread? I was going to start a similar one. Your "recommend a political group" thread got me thinking: my two daughters are now grown into adulthood, but being both dyslexic (and the younger one also being dyspraxic and with ADHD), neither of them read much unless they have to.

    Obviously they've heard the old man chuntering on in his anarchist-communist-informed-by-Marx-with-a-dash-of-operaismo way, but they never finish any of the books I leave lying on their bedside tables. They're both lefty, but I fear for their millennial political souls if they don't get some solid theory in them. So I want to buy them both a set of foundational political books with which to start life away from home. Say 3 to 5 core books each.

    With all the will in the world, neither is going to read Capital vol 1, let alone vols 2 or 3. So what is essential as well as readable?

    I've been rolling ideas around in my head, but some of the books I valued in past decades I haven't read for decades either and can't decide if I still think them worthy of a capsule leftist bookshelf.

    So if it's alright with chilango, I'd like your suggestions for that project too. Thanks.

    A Capsule Lefty Bookshelf For My Dyslexic Adult Daughters.
     
  5. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    Yeah! You've captured the spirit of the thread that my OP failed somewhat miserably to convey!
     
  6. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    For example:

    Guy Debord - Society of the Spectacle (the seminal)

    Vs

    Raoul Vaneigem - Revolution of Everyday Life (the readable)

    Both would be overkill.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  7. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    Perfect. And a fine suggestion.
     
  8. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood

    I don't know if its the sort of thing you are after- I've not read much of this sort of thing but I really enjoyed Mark Fisher's 'Capitalist Realism'
     
  9. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    I know it's not really theory but someone needs to do a sort of popular re-edit of The Making of the English Working Class. About 60% of it is immensely readable and about 40% of it is as dry as fuck (and often engaged in academic debates of the day) and would put off most casual readers.

    I guess I suggest it because I think most people would learn more theory from MOTEWC than they would from most theory books. I know I did.
     
    Sea Star and danny la rouge like this.
  10. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    I haven't read it, but I do like some of his writing. Is it Core Collection material?
     
  11. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood

    I don't know, it helped me into thinking more about a lot of ideas I'd ignored when younger as 'more of that theory crap', doing so via the medium of popular culture, (sci fi films and le guin etc) and relevant critique. And he had style to his writing.

    e2a Verso bod blurb:

    'It publishes short, intelligent polemics on politics and culture, packing a lot of punch into about 80 pages and they are masterclasses in hhow supposedly tough theory can be made accessible and help us to understand society. The latest of these is Capitalist Realism by leading radical blogger Mark Fisher who has been blogging under the name k-punk for the past few years. It's a sharp analysis of the post-ideological malaise that suggests that the economics and politics of neo-liberalism are givens rather than constructions. "It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism", Fisher spits, and his book takes in film, Baudrillard, Kurt Cobain, science fiction, mental health, bureacracy and economics'
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  12. Signal 11

    Signal 11 Ich bin maroon!

    Christie & Meltzer's The Floodgates of Anarchy might be a good choice. Their chapter on classes is particularly good.
     
  13. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    I have that. I always thought it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. And that the diagrammes are rubbish.
     
    Signal 11 likes this.
  14. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    Just clicked the link. :D Yes, those diagrams. :oops:

    I suppose I'll have to re-read it.
     
  15. kropotkin

    kropotkin libcom

    I really liked the latter
     
    chilango likes this.
  16. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    IMG_2671.JPG

    My copy of the Christie and Meltzer. Is it still in print?
     
    Pickman's model likes this.
  17. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    IMG_2672.JPG

    I've found this very useful over the years. But for my daughters I think I'd stick to the Manifesto.
     
  18. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    IMG_2673.JPG

    I used to recommend this years ago, but frankly I haven't read it for decades and I seem to remember I had some historical reservations but I can't remember exactly what.
     
    chilango likes this.
  19. Threshers_Flail

    Threshers_Flail Well-Known Member

    Is this a recommendation thread or just a chance to show off your library danny la rouge ? ;)
     
    MadeInBedlam and danny la rouge like this.
  20. Threshers_Flail

    Threshers_Flail Well-Known Member

    In all seriousness I'm defo keeping an eye on this thread as I read a fair bit but hardly ever theory, I just give up and pick up some fiction instead. :oops:
     
  21. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    I'm hoping other people will join in. I like pictures of old books.
     
  22. Threshers_Flail

    Threshers_Flail Well-Known Member

    Would join in but I've got naff all on the shelf.
     
  23. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    I really enjoyed it too. Must try some of his other stuff.

    It ain't gonna make a shortlist of 5 essential books though.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  24. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Not read a full book of hers yet, but for sheer clarity of thought and prose Ellen Meiksins Wood deserves a mention.
     
  25. chilango

    chilango *shrugs*

    I still have that exact copy. I'd always recommend it too. Haven't read it in over 29 years though I suspect.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  26. kropotkin

    kropotkin libcom

    Cleavers reading capital politically was one of the first really influential, readable theory books I read. But to be honest if we are sticking to five books it would have to be capital vol 1 rather than cleaver .
     
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  27. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    It's great but not an easy read, and isn't really stand-alone. You kinda need to know Capital vol 1.
     
  28. Riklet

    Riklet procrastinación

    Capital vol 1
     
  29. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Gebriel the third position fascist/holocaust denier of the brothers actually wrote it. That might be why.
     
  30. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge arbiter of taste and expert in all things right

    Ah.
     

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