Can Politics Be Thought?

Can Politics Be Thought?

a John Hope Franklin Center Book

More about this series

Book Pages: 152 Illustrations: Published: January 2019

Author: Alain Badiou

Translator: Bruno Bosteels

Contributor: Bruno Bosteels

Politics > Political Theory, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy

In Can Politics Be Thought?—published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism. Distinguishing politics as an active mode of thinking from the political as a domain of the State, Badiou argues for the continuation of Marxist politics. In so doing, he shows why we need to recapture the emancipatory hypothesis of Marx's original gesture in order to actualize its radical potential. This volume also includes Badiou's “Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of the State,” in which he rebuts claims of Communism's death after the fall of the Soviet Union.


“Distinguished by his unique combination of philosophical stringency and political engagement, Alain Badiou is not afraid to question the very fundamentals of our liberal-democratic consensus.” — Slavoj Žižek

“This elegant and indispensable translation of a crucial text from Alain Badiou's 1980s political writing redirects the entire English-language discussion of Badiou's communism. The real break is not between Badiou's communism and Marxism but between Badiou's militant, political Marxism and the Marxist analytics of political economy. Badiou gives us a Marxist subjectivity released from and by the defeats of the twentieth century and armed with new capacities to think and move.” — Jodi Dean


Availability: In stock
Price: $23.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Alain Badiou is René Descartes Chair and Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School and the author of numerous books, including Being and Event; Theory of the Subject; and Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil.

Bruno Bosteels is Professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Translator's Introduction  1
Can Politics Be Thought?
Threshold  29
1. Destruction  40
2. Recomposition  70
Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of the State  111
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0166-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0132-4
Publicity material