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State, Space, World

State, Space, World: Selected Essays

Neil Brenner
Stuart Elden
Gerald Moore
Neil Brenner
Stuart Elden
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    State, Space, World
    Book Description:

    State, Space, World collects a series of Lefebvre’s key writings on the state. Making available in English for the first time the as-yet-unexplored political aspect of Henri Lefebvre’s work, it contains essays on philosophy, political theory, state formation, spatial planning, and globalization, as well as provocative reflections on the possibilities and limits of grassroots democracy under advanced capitalism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6794-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
    N.B. and S.E.
  4. Introduction. State, Space, World: Lefebvre and the Survival of Capitalism
    (pp. 1-48)

    Commenting on the long history of interpretations of Marx, Henri Lefebvre wrote that “the correct line of thought is to situate the works and the theoretical or political propositions within the global movement of the transformation of the modern world.”¹ It seems appropriate to view Lefebvre’s own formidable intellectual and political legacy—whether in France, in the English-speaking world, or beyond—in directly analogous terms. Since the early 1970s, when Anglo-American urbanists and geographers first began to discuss and appropriate Lefebvre’s approach to urban spatiality, his many post-1968 writings have inspired considerable debate and any number of critical appropriations in...

  5. Part I. State, Society, Autogestion

    • 1 The State and Society (1964)
      (pp. 51-68)

      This presentation is only the first in a series devoted to the problem of the State, so it does not claim to be exhaustive or to resolve all problems. It could well be that at the end of this series of presentations, the problems of the State will appear in a slightly new light. In fact, I think that, for several supporting reasons, we are entering into a period where many controversial questions, many questions whose horizons remain sealed off, will be posed anew. A heavy mortgage, a very heavy mortgage, which weighed both on action and on socialist thought,...

    • 2 The Withering Away of the State: The Sources of Marxist–Leninist State Theory (1964)
      (pp. 69-94)

      The Leninist theory of the State is both the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the theory of the withering away [déperissement] of the State. It is therefore the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and simultaneously and correlatively the theory of the withering away of the State that we are going to analyze this evening.

      The fact that this theory is both the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that of the withering away of the State seems to me of the greatest contemporary relevance. Of course, when one speaks of the dictatorship of...

    • 3 The State in the Modern World (1975)
      (pp. 95-123)

      This work, entitledOn the State, comprises four parts. This article is a plan of it that is sufficiently detailed to show its direction: it presents a resume of the whole rather than a simple “table of contents.” The following paragraphs indicate the themes treated, not chapters. This is to say that individual volumes do not exactly follow the indicated order.

      1.The problematic of the State and the mystery of the State: How can it be defined? How can we respond to the question: “what is the State and State power [l’étatique]?”

      Enumeration of hypotheses. The State? A conscience, the...

    • 4 Comments on a New State Form (1979)
      (pp. 124-137)

      Without beating around the bush, I implicate myself at the outset of this article, locating it and myself by declaring that it contains and advances a number of theses. While this procedure—which opens with my conclusions—raises certain pedagogical objections, it also has certain political and theoretical advantages: the reader knows immediately what is at stake, and with whom he is dealing. Scientifically, the theses thus presented may pass for hypotheses, as the orientation for an inquiry. Here, then, are the propositions:

      1. Today more than ever, a political action is defined through the type or form of State that...

    • 5 Theoretical Problems of Autogestion (1966)
      (pp. 138-152)

      Who would contest that the problem of unity, which is to say of the reunification of the movement, is essential? It is not worth adding the words “workers” and “revolutionary” to the word “movement” on every occasion. In fact, without the active intervention of the revolutionary working class, there is no movement. Contemporary experience shows us only too well that there can be economic and technologicalgrowthwithout real socialdevelopment, without the enrichment of social relations. In social practice, this gives rise to only a mutilated movement, which leaves stagnant numerous sectors of social reality: the life of politics,...

    • 6 “It Is the World That Has Changed”: Interview with Autogestion et socialisme (1976)
      (pp. 153-164)

      I would like first to say a few words on the current situation of Marxism, which has recently given rise to a number of discussions and polemics in which I have participated very little, because they began when I left for Mexico, where I spent some time. I will say two or three things: there are people who strive fiercely to demonstrate that Marxism is over, that Marxism is dead—for example, Jean-Marie Benoist, in his book,Marx Is Dead,¹ the same Jean-Marie Benoist who has since written a book on the structuralist revolution: we get the revolutions we deserve.²...

  6. Part II. Space, State Spatiality, World

    • 7 Reflections on the Politics of Space (1970)
      (pp. 167-184)

      It is now possible to step back and assess what was said and done [in the urban planning profession] during the last decade. This step back allows a balance sheet. However, at the beginning of 1970 something changed: a shift of perspective has begun to occur in the higher ranks of the profession, which needs to be understood and assessed. . . . Until very recently, the field of urban planning [en matière urbanistique] was dominated by a theory, or rather an ideology, that was never clearly expressed. This ideology, to my mind, comprised three propositions:

      1. There exists a coherent...

    • 8 Space: Social Product and Use Value (1979)
      (pp. 185-195)

      “To change life,” “to change society,” these phrases mean nothing if there is no production of an appropriated space.

      “To produce space,” these are surprising words: the production of space, in concept and in reality, has only recently appeared, mainly, in the explosion of the historical city, the general urbanization of society, the problems of spatial organization, and so forth. Today, the analysis of production shows that we have passed from the production of things in space to the production of space itself.

      This passage from production in space to production of space occurred because of the growth of the...

    • 9 The Worldwide and the Planetary (1973)
      (pp. 196-209)

      These propositions present a project,¹ that of a simultaneously descriptive, analytical, and global understanding that would positively and negatively be linked to social practice. This understanding would be called “spatio-logy,” or “spatio-analysis,” were we to label it.²

      Somepropositionsdo more than enunciate: they pose and propose. They pose an actual “object” and propose an “objective.” This implies the use of classical deduction and induction, but also oftransduction, which targets a virtual “object” and its realization on a path heading toward a “pro-posed” horizon.

      These propositions are abstract, but in the sense of conceptual abstraction, which, more and better...

    • 10 Space and Mode of Production (1980)
      (pp. 210-222)

      The schema under consideration must not only be drawn out from Marx—and especially from his analyses of labor—but we must also envisage its generalization. We shall see how and why. Let us first consider (social) space.

      It is possible to study Marx’s work in texts, and there are several ways of doing this, such asby thematizing, which is to say by gathering together the sparse texts concerning, for example, philosophy. This procedure has been kept at a distance here for several reasons, notably because of its trivialization due to the multiplicity of “Marxological” works. Moreover, in order...

    • 11 Space and the State (1978)
      (pp. 223-253)

      During the course of its development, the State binds itself to space through a complex and changing relation that has passed through certain critical points. Born in and with a space, the state may also perish with it. The moments of this relation can be described as follows:

      a) The production of a space,the national territory, a physical space, mapped, modified, transformed by the networks, circuits and flows that are established within it—roads, canals, railroads, commercial and financial circuits, motorways and air routes, etc. Thus this space is a material—natural—space in which the actions of human...

    • 12 Review of Kostas Axelos’s Toward Planetary Thought (1965)
      (pp. 254-258)

      In his latest book, Kostas Axelos unveils his ambition better and further than in the two other installments in his trilogy on errancy,Héraclite et la philosophie: La première saisie de l’être en devenir de la totalité[1962; Heraclitus and Philosophy: The First Understanding of Being Becoming Totality] andMarx, penseur de la technique: De l’aliénation de l’homme à la conquête du monde[1961, 1963; Marx, Thinker of Technology: From the Alienation of Man to the Conquest of the World].¹ This ambition is grand and many-faceted. First, he wants to create and impose a language, his own. To this language...

    • 13 The World according to Kostas Axelos (1986)
      (pp. 259-273)

      “The terrifying solitude of the last philosopher. Nature petrifies him, vultures circle overhead. He cries to nature: give us forgetfulness! . . . But no, like a Titan he bears sorrow—until reconciliation is granted in tragic great art.”² These lines of Nietzsche evoke the figure of Kostas Axelos; yet if he is the last philosopher, he is neither the last of men, nor the Oedipus of his final challenge, who resolves the enigma of man only at the end of this failed species. On the contrary: Kostas Axelos is also the first or one of the first of a...

    • 14 The Worldwide Experience (1978)
      (pp. 274-289)

      The Revolution had been relied upon to create the “world” and “worldness” [le “monde” et la “mondialité”]. It was theworldwide revolution[la révolution mondiale]. Today we have to realize that the worldwide and worldness, with their hazardous and unforeseen features, constitute the “revolution” itself, instead of concluding it.

      But what is revolution? What is the worldwide? After an initial look we notice the prodigious complexity of the movement: the worldwide market, generalization of state power, generalized but processed information, unbridled demography and technology, space, the Third World and minorities, ethnic groups, women, peasants, youth, etc. The working-class movement set...

    • 15 Revolutions (1986)
      (pp. 290-306)

      Before we approach the most recent form of this century-long transformation—namely, cultural revolution—we must return to the termrevolution. The Marxist tradition distinguishes democratic revolutions (bourgeois revolutions, such as 1789–93) from socialist revolutions (proletarian revolutions, like that of Russia in 1917). Yet since these dates, the break or fissure between these two types of revolution has been smoothed over: there are “democratic” revolutions that are more and lessmature: the most mature tend to overcome the qualitative gulf that separates them from “socialism” (which itself needs to be defined or redefined!). The great revolutions are social and...

  7. Further Readings
    (pp. 307-308)
  8. Publication History
    (pp. 309-312)
  9. Index
    (pp. 313-330)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 331-331)