• The Beneficiary

    Author(s):
    Pages: 200
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $84.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-7012-3
  • Paperback: $23.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-7021-5
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction  1
    1. The Starving Child  15
    2. You Acquiesce In It: George Orwell on the System  33
    3. A Short History of Commodity Recognition  51
    4. The Nation-State as Agent of Cosmopolitanism  75
    5. Naomi Klein's Love Story  93
    6. Life Will Win  117
    Conclusion: You Can't Handle the Truth  139
    Notes  155
    Bibliography  169
    Index  177
  • "A bracing revisionist account of western humanitarianism, one that blasts open the causal connections between distant suffering and cosmopolitan acknowledgement of that suffering through the complicit, anguished figure of the beneficiary." — Siddhartha Deb, author of, The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India

    "With The Beneficiary, Bruce Robbins has done it again. Those who already follow his work in English, political theory, and cosmopolitanism will be eager readers, but so too will be anyone interested in environmentalism and global justice. This brave book is a timely and outstanding piece of scholarship." — Bonnie Honig, author of, Public Things

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  • Description

    From iPhones and clothing to jewelry and food, the products those of us in the developed world consume and enjoy exist only through the labor and suffering of countless others. In his new book Bruce Robbins examines the implications of this dynamic for humanitarianism and social justice. He locates the figure of the "beneficiary" in the history of humanitarian thought, which asks the prosperous to help the poor without requiring them to recognize their causal role in the creation of the abhorrent conditions they seek to remedy. Tracing how the beneficiary has manifested itself in the work of George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, Naomi Klein, and others, Robbins uncovers a hidden tradition of economic cosmopolitanism. There are no easy answers to the question of how to confront systematic inequality on a global scale. But the first step, Robbins suggests, is to acknowledge that we are, in fact, beneficiaries.

    About The Author(s)

    Bruce Robbins is Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and the author and editor of several books, including Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence, also published by Duke University Press, and Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State. Robbins has written for The Nation, n+1, and other publications.
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