Chapter Eleven: From Modern to Postmodern Power

Here is a website about the concept Ňpostmodern 

1.        This chapter takes the form of a series of meditations on the development of the concept power. You will need to have some clarity about power to fully understand the argument.  Take what you find in sections I-IV of the chapter (393-400) and write out one-line descriptions of 3 views of power: premodern, modern, and postmodern.  You might find useful the extensive references to other uses of power in the book. (757)  And, your list will be a helpful bookmark in several upcoming chapters. 

2.        In section V (400-402) Wolin describes Ňconstituent elementsÓ of modern power.  What are they?  Can you point to current empirical signs of each?  Recall how this chapter started: with a warning that membership in a collective (such as a nation) is based on a rearranging of remembrance, and, perhaps more significantly, selective memory loss. 

3.        How have we tried to contain power in the modern era?  (402-5) 

After finishing the chapter, how do the concepts encourage us to interpret the recent documentary, Inside Job?



Chapter Twelve: Marx: Theorist of the Political Economy of the Proletariat or of Uncollapsed Capitalism?

1.        Note WolinŐs summary comparison of Marx and Nietzsche: ŇBoth were critical of the liberal and democratic conception of politics that legitimates opposition and differences.Ó  (407) With respect to its view of power, what is wrong with liberalism? 

2.        What was MarxŐs contribution to our understanding of power?  (408-9)  Note WolinŐs claim about what overwhelmed MarxŐs hopes for power, top of 410. 

3.        In the early literature of political economy, why did the development of capitalism seem to be necessarily accompanied by the development of bureaucracy?  (410-413)

4.        According to Wolin, what did Marx find inadequate about democracy?  (413-14)

5.        What did Marx believe could be achieved through theory?  (415-6, also back at quote on p. 409)

6.        Wolin says MarxŐs EPMss Ňmarks the moment when Western theory embraces power without any accompanying inhibitions or apprehensions or emphasis upon limits.Ó (417)  What does this mean, in practical terms?  (As a reminder, the EPMss contain MarxŐs early writing on alienation.) 

7.        The next section, up through p. 424, describes MarxŐs view of power and compares it with that of Hobbes and Machiavelli.  What are the chief distinctions? 

8.        See the second quoted passage on p. 426.  Note it is the same passage used back on p. 416 (with different use of italicsÉ.).  Here it has something to do with being able to conceive of power.  According to Marx, how do you see power?  (426-7)

9.        In what ways does Wolin present the narratives of Marx and Locke as parallel?  427-30)

10. According to Marx, why did the Communist Party carry such a heavy burden in creating a revolution in power?  (432-5)  This theme is further developed in pp. 440-5, in MarxŐs ideas about dictatorship.  Wolin ends this latter section with a suggestion that MarxŐs late 19th century view of power was ambiguous in significant ways. 

11. Note the importance in MarxŐs thought of ending scarcity.  (437)

12. Did Marx seek to abolish the power system of capital?  (436-9)

13. WolinŐs account of Marx and technology is on pp. 439-40.  We can develop this further in class. 

14. In the section leading up to p. 452, Wolin develops the idea that Marx pursued lines of theory that could not be reconciled (and, at top of 452, suggests Marx understood this at some point).  Describe the gap between these distinct emphases in his thought. 

15.  The last brief section of the chapter contains a brief assertion about the power of ideology under capitalism.  What is the claim?  Draw a diagram that illustrates this claim, and in your diagram clearly distinguish the concepts used to arrive at the claim.