Social criticism has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years. The anti-globalization protests at Seattle and Genoa and the great marches against the war in Iraq have put contestation of capitalism and imperialism back on the political and intellectual agenda. But how does social critique situate itself philosophically today, after the marginalization of Marxism and the impact of postmodernism? In The Resources of Critique
, Alex Callinicos seeks to address this question systematically. He does so, in the first part, by surveying some of the most influential contemporary critical theorists Alain Badiou, Jacques Bidet, Luc Boltanski, Pierre Bourdieu, Eve Chiapello, Jürgen Habermas, Antonio Negri and Slavoj Zizek.
The limitations of all these theorists perspectives prompts Callinicos in the second part of the book to outline an alternative approach whose main elements are a critical realist ontology, a Marxist theory of social contradiction, and an egalitarian conception of justice. The main thrust of his argument is to show that Marx's critique of political economy remains inescapable for anyone seeking to challenge the existing world order but only if it maintains an open but rigorous dialogue with other critical perspectives. The Resources of Critique is, above all, a contribution to this dialogue.