Searching for the Light: Essays on Thought and Culture

Hardcover | January 1, 1993

byNorman Birnbaum

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Collected here for the first time are a number of important essays that Birnbaum has written over the last twenty years, ranging from such compelling topics as sociology to post-Marxism to education. Two questions inspire these essays. If thinkers are prisoners of their political contexts,how can thought apprehend historical movement? Can moral imagination alter social constraints? Birnbaum sees sociology as historical and philosophical commentary, shaped by politics. In close and subtle examinations of the Marxist legacy, he makes innovative analytical moves and turns Marxism uponitself. His investigation includes an essay on the Marxist theory of religion proving that it is a major contribution to the debate on society and spirituality. An inquiry into the antithesis of Marxism and psychoanalysis asks if any project of human self-transformation is still plausible. In anessay dated 1984, he anticipates the collapse of the Communist regimes and new conflicts in the West. In a stringent article written after the sixties, but which speaks to the nineties, he considers the technocratic servitude of the liberal university. Finally, he describes the contradictoryadvice offered to President Mitterand when he convened the world's intellectual vanguard in Paris in 1983. Birnbaum concludes, half in melancholy and half in hope, that intellectual inquiry's critical tasks are unending.

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From Our Editors

An influential social critic and a major social thinker, Norman Birnbaum has collected here, for the first time, a number of important essays. Written over the last twenty years, they range from the fate of sociology to the problematic end of Marxism. Two questions inspire these essays. If thinkers are prisoners of their political cont...

From the Publisher

Collected here for the first time are a number of important essays that Birnbaum has written over the last twenty years, ranging from such compelling topics as sociology to post-Marxism to education. Two questions inspire these essays. If thinkers are prisoners of their political contexts,how can thought apprehend historical movement...

From the Jacket

An influential social critic and a major social thinker, Norman Birnbaum has collected here, for the first time, a number of important essays. Written over the last twenty years, they range from the fate of sociology to the problematic end of Marxism. Historians, political thinkers, sociologists, and theologians will find their central...

Norman Birnbaum is at Georgetown University Law Center.

other books by Norman Birnbaum

Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9.57 × 6.3 × 1.06 inPublished:January 1, 1993Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195068890

ISBN - 13:9780195068894

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From Our Editors

An influential social critic and a major social thinker, Norman Birnbaum has collected here, for the first time, a number of important essays. Written over the last twenty years, they range from the fate of sociology to the problematic end of Marxism. Two questions inspire these essays. If thinkers are prisoners of their political contexts, how can thought apprehend historical movement? Can moral imagination alter social constraints? Birnbaum sees sociology as historical and philosophical commentary, shaped by politics. In a close and subtle examination of the Marxist legacy, he makes an innovative analytical move and turns Marxism upon itself. His inquiry includes an essay on the Marxist theory of religion, an essay which is itself a contribution to the debate of society and spirituality. An inquiry into the antithesis of Marxism and psychoanalysis asks if any project of human self-transformation is still plausible. In an essay dated 1984, he anticipates the collapse of the Communist regimes and new conflicts in the West. In a stringent article written after the

Editorial Reviews

"Norman Birnbaum's Searching for the Light maintains and expands the range of his previous distinguished books. It sparkles and crackles and illuminates. Urbane, cosmopolitan, irreverent, Birnbaum has one of the liveliest minds on our intellectual scene."--H. Stuart Hughes, University ofCalifornia, San Diego