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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Fanaticism by Alberto Toscano. 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. 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.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published May 4th by Verso first published November 15th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Fanaticism , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. Start your review of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea.
May 09, Anthony Galluzzo rated it really liked it. Although as of this writing I am about half-way through Alberto Toscano's book, I'm impressed with what I've read. Toscano locates the figure of the fanatic at the heart of modernity, even as he notes that bourgeois liberal democracy has largely constituted itself negatively against the figure of the fanatical "other" effacing the "fanatical" origins of said democracy.
This other, according to Toscano, occupies two, ostensibly antithetical, positions within the liberal imaginary: the atavist Although as of this writing I am about half-way through Alberto Toscano's book, I'm impressed with what I've read. This other, according to Toscano, occupies two, ostensibly antithetical, positions within the liberal imaginary: the atavistic and decidedly irrational religious millenarian, of which we've, uh, heard so much lately, and the bloodthirsty ultra-rationalist, who willingly sacrifices all customary and affective relationships to abstract principles.
The first form of fanaticism finds its template in Thomas Muntzer and his Anabaptists, while the second neatly corresponds to Edmund Burke's account of the French revolutionaries and, more recently, the Bolsheviks, at least according to the decidedly Burkean "antitotalitarians" who dominated twentieth-century liberal discourse.
And yet, as Toscano shows, these two seemingly opposed modes of fanaticism are often made one in liberal representations; the rationalist radical, for example,whether Jacobin or Marxist, reconstitutes religion in secular terms, as if this is an indictment in itself. Toscano suggests that we view the fanatic, in both his religious and secular iterations, as the product of a blockage vis-a-via utopian energies--hopefully he'll more fully elaborate on this notion in the second half of the monograph.
The writer takes aim at all the right targets: antitotalitarianism, the new atheism, and the ideology that dare not speak its name, namely bourgeois liberalism. Toscano builds on the theoretical rejuvenation of radical thought effected by Zizek and Badiou, which he combines with meticulous intellectual history. Aug 02, Stas rated it liked it Shelves: russian , usa-history-politics , religion.
For political science heavy on philosophy nerds. Not terribly novel, but a good resume and update of the tired old chestnut: is fanaticism an excess or an insufficiency of reason? Chapter on Kant had me faltering - I simply lack a frame of reference.
His defense of Muntzer contra Cohn is particularly convincing. Chapter on Marx and religion manages to add something to the old insight that opium is medicine, For political science heavy on philosophy nerds. Chapter on Marx and religion manages to add something to the old insight that opium is medicine, salvific, not necessarily a pure befuddlement and distraction. Appropriately for a psychoanalytically inflected critique of a peculiarly European?
All in all, a fine critique of liberal illusions. A great bibliography. Manifests a certain Negritude of Antonio variety. Partial to, though at times suspicious of Badiou. Clear political demarcation away from Agamben. Apr 25, Brad rated it really liked it.
In a time where you, the smart reader who would actually be able to make heads or tails of Toscano's dense academic prose, are not supposed to believe in anything too much, and more than disdain those who do, Fanaticism is a shockingly brave. It's not an easy read, but it is worth the effort. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. About Alberto Toscano. Alberto Toscano.
Books by Alberto Toscano. As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ad Read more Trivia About Fanaticism: On th No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.
The meaning of fanaticism
In contemporary politics, one expression of this obsession that is far more worrisome is the way in which many liberals are confronting political Islam. In this approach, legitimate objections to reactionary clericalism and the deliberate targeting of non-combatant civilians are melded into a false and repugnant political equivalence and symmetry between the violence of the oppressor and the oppressed. This view ignores any distinction between the principal issues—racist or imperialist aggression—and real but subordinate matters: the beliefs and practices of the victims. This political posture seems to assume that the Enlightenment was homogeneous, instead of highly diverse, including liberating and revolutionary currents including Marxism as well as politically reactionary manifestations. Liberals also imply that the policies and actions of the Western powers in the Middle East and Central Asia are carried out to defend moral and political values, instead of these values being used as an ideological cover to justify imperialist policies and tactics. His book is primarily cast as a treatise in political theory and the history of ideas. Although unquestionably an erudite work, it is often difficult to follow and seems to have been addressed to doctoral students and professors of political theory familiar with the literature and controversies in the field rather than to a lay, politically interested audience.
Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea
Gisle Selnes: Your book Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea is, in one sense, a historical discussion of the idea of fanaticism. Why did you feel it was urgent to write a counter-history of fanaticism in ? Destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban, 21 March Photo: CNN.