Category “21st Century Society”

Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra (2017)

Pankaj’s new book might well have been subtitled, ‘An Anthology of Terrorism’.  And at times it’s not the most cohesive one, reading more like a smattering attempt to capture every act of politically subversive violence, and a checkered description of the perpetrators and their inter-relationships, since the Enlightenment.

But looking through this somewhat ramshackle layer of narrative exposes an uncut gem of substance.  Pankaj makes the case that the same fundamental processes that are giving rise to the likes of Brexit, Erdogan, Hofer, Le Pen, Orban, Trump and Wilders simultaneously explain ISIS.  Ressentiment, in a nutshell:

“… where individual dissatisfaction with the actually available degree of freedom constantly collides with elaborate theories and promises of individual freedom and empowerment.”

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Timothy Morton (2013)


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Reason in a Dark Time

Dale Jamieson (2014)

DaleJamieson_ReasonInADarkTime _

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This Changes Everything

Naomi Klein (2014)

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Feeding the World in the 21st Century

(2010) Christian Anton Smedshaug

A work that is timely and rich in content. On the down side, too little of its data is appropriately referenced, and it is shakily translated, becoming almost unreadable in the last few chapters. Its impressive arsenal of graphs is let down by sloppy captions and legends.

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Environment, Power and Society

(2007) Howard Odum

The ultimate systems-thinker’s guide to energy and society. Perhaps too qualitative for some.

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The Great Transformation

Karl Paul Polanyi (1944)

What work! There are three possible societal responses to liberalism’s ‘free market’, Polanyi coolly reasons: (1) self-protection through regulation; (2) environmental collapse and dehumanization of society; or (3) the embrace of fascism.

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Paulo Freire

I read this in translation. To this day I am uncertain what I got out of it. What I have understood of ‘Critical pedagogy’ does not strike me as profound.

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Who Will Tell The People

William Greider

The best work on the near-complete corporate high-jacking of the
American democratic process that I know.

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Who Are We?

Image: Who Are We?

Samuel Huntington

A fascinating reflection on American identity in the post-9/11 world.

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