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Subversive Itinerary

Subversive Itinerary: The Thought of Gad Horowitz

peter kulchyski
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 376
  • Book Info
    Subversive Itinerary
    Book Description:

    Subversive Itineraryinvestigates the theoretical evolution of the influential political theorist Gad Horowitz, as well as the historical impact of his ideas on Canadian life and letters.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6239-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    SHANNON BELL and peter kulchyski

    Gad Horowitz has remained prominent among Canadian intellectuals and political theorists for close to fifty years. Horowitz, now in his mid-seventies, is most widely recognized for his early work –Canadian Labour and Politics, particularly his landmark essay ʺConservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: An Interpretationʺ (CLS), which planted intellectual dynamite under burgeoning Canadian political culture. What is perhaps less commonly known is Horowitzʹs subsequent work on Freud, Marcuse and psychoanalysis, modern political thought, Buddhism, general semantics, continental theory and post-structuralism.

    Gadʹs intellectual trajectory reflects his Buddhist and post-structuralist understanding of self as set out above – that a self...

  4. Part One: Life and Times

    • 1 On Intellectual Life, Politics, and Psychoanalysis: A Conversation with Gad Horowitz (2003)
      (pp. 3-14)
      COLIN J. CAMPBELL and Gad Horowitz

      Campbell:Canadian Labour in Politicsremains a seminal text of Canadian political analysis and the history of Canadian socialism. In it you develop what has become known as the ʺHartz-Horowitz thesis,ʺ a variant of Louis Hartzʹs ʺfragment theoryʺ of political culture. Briefly, what was Hartzʹs theory and how did it change when your name was added to it?

      Horowitz: ʺSeminalʺ – well, you know we donʹt like this word (laughs), but I guess, in fact, thatʹs something like what it was. I had my fifteen minutes. It was and remained a seminal text because it spoke to real needs of...

    • 2 The Life and Times of Horowitz the Canadianist
      (pp. 15-41)

      In the mid-1960s, Gad Horowitz and his ideas became prominent in both the academic and real worlds of Canadian politics. He appeared in and then departed Canadiana like a shooting star: a luminous flash that leaves an indelible mark on the mind. This chapter traces Horowitzʹs career as a Canadianist and connects his academic and related popular writings with his personal development as a Canadian public intellectual. It looks at how the Canadianist corpus of his work came about and was received and how it fit with and fuelled Canadiansʹ evolving identity and sense of their countryʹs ideological heritage. It...

    • 3 The Odd Couple of Canadian Intellectual History
      (pp. 42-53)

      My subject in this piece is not the couple designated for four years byFrank Magazineto be Canadaʹs looniest academic couple, namely, one of the editors of this volume, Shannon Bell, and Gad Horowitz, but the latterʹs relationship with George Grant. Grant was Canadaʹs leading conservative thinker, and Gad is our foremost socialist thinker. The friendly interaction between the conservative Grant and the socialist Horowitz produced the legend of the red tory tradition in Canadian intellectual history.

      InTyping, Matt Cohen described his affection for George Grant as ʺan enormously overgrown and very mischievous schoolboy who had somehow escaped...

    • 4 Between Pause and Play: Conveying the Democratic Spirit
      (pp. 54-70)

      How does one – how can one – write about a teacher? In particular, about a teacher as a historical being, the supreme fact of biography? Even if we place the thorny question of transference aside – that is, if we ignore the interpretive distortions that issue from the perspective of the (or this) student – we must still acknowledge the resistance-to-being-written-about that accompanies the very figure of the teacher. For, in its constitutive act, this figure is always already made of writing, of words – the words, most often, of others. The teacher, in short, is allegorical (allos, ʺotherʺ...

  5. Part Two: Fragment Theory

    • 5 The Political Culture of English Canada
      (pp. 73-91)

      In a series of short, intense articles written between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s Gad Horowitz made a remarkably pertinent and prescient contribution to the thinking of the political culture of English Canada in order to define the parameters of a socialist political will. That contribution was made in the context of the politics of the 1960s, which attempted to synthesize a socialist politics of class with a nationalist politics of community. Any similar attempt forty years later needs to both acknowledge his founding contribution and to measure our own distance from the theoretical discourse of the 1960s. It...

    • 6 Canadaʹs Regional Fragments
      (pp. 92-112)

      In the United States, Louis Hartzʹs ʺfragment theoryʺ as presented inThe Liberal Tradition in America¹ (LTA) commanded attention and respect if not embrace. It was quickly eclipsed there and, by the 1980s, was deemed ʺpractically dead.ʺ² Hartzʹs message challenged Americansʹ positive view of the United States – that its polity and discourse had benefitted only from having left the Old World behind. He argued that Americans unreflectively embraced an exalted version of seventeenth-century Lockeanism, severing them from further Western intellectual development. Hartzʹs thesis undermined what his contemporary colleague, radical sociologist C. Wright Mills, described as American intellectualsʹ ʺcelebration of...

    • 7 Restoration, Not Renovation: A Fresh Start for Hartz-Horowitz
      (pp. 113-130)

      In the 1770s, the inhabitants of the British North American colonies had to decide whether or not to support the British Crown, and their decisions were to set the course for the national character of their descendants. The choice of independence or duty, whether to be revolutionaries or loyalists, marked a coming of age for the United States and gave a new sense of purpose for the rest of British North America that would later be Canada. Little wonder, therefore, that Canadians should so often define their country in relief against the United States. It is not that Canada has...

  6. Part Three: Spirit and Power

    • 8 Gad ben Rachel ve Aharon: Parrhesiastes
      (pp. 133-155)

      Gad Horowitz is what Michel Foucault identifies as aparrhesiasticthinker, a truth-teller; that is, a thinker who speaks truth, new truths, and in speaking new truths opens horizons in knowledge terrains. ʺTheparrhesiastesis someone who says everything he has in mind: he does not hide anything, but opens his heart and mind … through his discourse.ʺ¹ Foucault refers to truth-telling,parrhesia, as speech activity. It is an activity that entails risk, goes against dominant thought and speech, and is often dangerous speech.Parrhesia, as a bringing-forth, as an opening in existing thought, as a revealing of potential in...

    • 9 Whatʹs Involved in Involution? A Psycho-Poetics of Regression: Freud–Horowitz–Celan
      (pp. 156-173)

      If the encounter of psychoanalysis and poetry has a purpose, it involves neither a poetic approach to psychoanalysis nor a psychoanalytic appropriation of poetry. Rather, such an encounter seeks to reveal the common ground of the poetic and psychoanalyticdesires, striving for theAbgrundof singular knowledge that ʺcannot be acquired (or possessed) once and for allʺ – the singular knowledge where ʺeach case, each text, has its own specific, singular symbolic functioning.ʺ¹ Whenever two singularities meet in an asymmetrical Levinasian encounter, no exchange, no functional commerce, no economic activity will transpire between them, but only breath and breathlessness, breath...

    • 10 The Sexed Body of the Woman-(M)Other: Irigaray and Marcuse on the Intersection of Gender and Ethical Intersubjectivity
      (pp. 174-193)

      According to Luce Irigaray, in traditional Western philosophical and psychoanalytical discourses the relation between the mother and the child is an object relation. In psychoanalysis, the mother is the childʹs first object or partial object and never a social subject; she represents the nature side of the nature/culture dichotomy, the side that has to be sacrificed for the childʹs successful entry into the symbolic order. The maternal body, as the site of the natural, signifies what is sublime, all-powerful, and so is always a threat to the life of the social subject. To put it differently, the discursive association of...

    • 11 The Spark of Philosophy: Hartz-Horowitz and Theories of Religion
      (pp. 194-212)

      It may be a telling irony that the theory of political culture developed by Louis Hartz specifically for his American audience in the 1950s seems to have had its most lasting impact in Canada. Ironies of fate aside, we can say at least that Hartz presented a uniquely coherent and elegant analysis of the global spectrum of modern political ideologies: from the tory, defined by traditionalism, a vision of society as collective and the individual as subordinate or even insignificant; to the liberal, defined by his rationalism and egalitarianism, and his view of society as being an association of pre-existing...

  7. Part Four: Political Philosophy

    • 12 Transcendental Liberalism and the Politics of Representation: Possessive Individualism Revisited
      (pp. 215-236)

      The two overarching themes of Horowitz and Horowitzʹs ʺEverywhere They Are in Chainsʺ are the relationship of the individual to the totality, and the subterranean connection between conservatism and radicalism.¹ Each of these themes can be seen to have a more and a less proximate source of inspiration. The nature of the individual and her relationship to the totality is the great theme of Western Marxism, both in its classic formulation in the work of Georg Lukács, and also in the work of the Frankfurt school. More immediate to the concerns of political theory is the work of C.B. Macpherson,...

    • 13 From the Narcissism of Small Differences to the Vertigo of Endless Possibilities: Horowitz among the Levinasians
      (pp. 237-255)

      Scholars who seek a political philosophy in Levinas tend, whatever their political stripes, to agree on a single delimiting axiom: Levinas holds that all regimes, states, institutions, communities, ethnic groups, clubs – all political structures whatever, whether egalitarian or hierarchical; liberal, socialist, or totalitarian; voluntary, circumstantial, or biological – necessarily overlook the uniqueness of the singular human being and thus do violence; they therefore must be subjected to continual critique. Beginning with this axiom we find our thoughts severely circumscribed. A few scholars refuse to go any further, arguing that Levinas gives us no criteria for a ranking of regimes....

    • 14 Adorno and Emptiness
      (pp. 256-278)

      It is not uncommon to hear from different directions that AdornoʹsNegative Dialecticsfails as either philosophy or as theory that can find a unity with practice. There are many reasons for Adornoʹs gradual slide into neglect and indifference. Yet it is likely thatNegative Dialecticsis ignored or dismissed because itsaimscannot be assimilated to either the main thrust of the Western philosophical tradition or to the vast majority of attempts to offer alternatives. Adorno could be far enough ahead or outside of the curve in the West that the aims ofNegative Dialecticsare not sufficiently grasped,...

    • 15 horowitz dances with wolves: inquiries pursuant to the thought of gad horowitz
      (pp. 279-290)
      peter kulchyski

      this address is directed, however much it may miss its mark, towards gad. i speak not for him, as one who attempts to bear his ʺlegacyʺ of critical thought in canada, but to him whose thinking in this moment/conjunction is more urgent for us than ever. i hope to influence his work at this stage rather than celebrate or entomb it: to you i have things to say, in the hope we will see more from you.

      i welcome the rest of you, our third, to ʺlisten inʺ or read along for whatever value you might find in these admittedly...

  8. Part Five: Horowitz in His Own Words

    • emmanuel, Robert
      (pp. 293-302)

      Robert MagliolaʹsOn Deconstructing Life Worlds² is motivated by the bodhisattvic desire to help others cope with evil and suffering through Buddhist/deconstructive meditative frequenting of the double binding happenings of human existence – essentially a teaching of profoundacceptanceof all goings on. However, this work is punctuated by periodic assertions of an absolute obligation binding all human beings to work for a better world and justice. Magliolaʹs Buddhism – like Buddhism in general – does not seek to account for theethically obligatoryquality of the bodhisattva vow. I suggest that ethical obligation is the ʺpriorʺ ʺconditionʺ even of...

    • Bringing Bataille to Justice
      (pp. 303-315)

      ʺIntelligence … as sensitive to pain as aching teethʺ² is at work in both Bataille and Levinas. Bataille is a hell-dweller and Levinas visits him there. They confer there, through gritted teeth, discoursing on the experience of evil. They agree that evil is, in Levinasʹs words, ʺan excess, a break with the normal and normative, with order, with synthesis, with the world.ʺ It is ʺthe nonsynthesizable.ʺ³ Like death or as death, it is wholly other. Evil is trauma, overwhelming energy, energy that over-whelms the being, shattering its boundaries, making it impossible to experience it in the sense of assembling it...

    • An Essay on the Altruism of Nature
      (pp. 316-328)

      What can we learn … what can we Levinasians learn from George Price? George Price was a scientist who made important contributions to neo-Darwinian theory, especially to its understanding of how processes of natural selection could have given rise to altruistic behaviour in living beings, including humans. And he was for eighteen months an incandescent practitioner of self-sacrificial altruism in the slums of London – a veritable saint of the impossible. At the end of that period he committed suicide. His funeral was attended by five of the homeless men he had assisted and two of the worldʹs best-known evolutionary...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 329-350)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 351-352)