I spent the earlier part of today working on my research statement. Its a perverse enterprise that prevents me from working on my current research and encourages me to speculate on my future research. So instead of working on turning my thesis into a book, or the several articles I plan to spin off from it, I’ve been thinking of what to write for my second book, which I think will be on the topic of critical theory and crisis.
So far as this highly speculative book goes, the first part will provide an examination of the different theories of crisis that the different generations of critical theory have provided. The second part will try to develop some aspects of these theories for a contemporary critical theory of crisis.
It also might be the case that these theories of crisis can be distinguished between historical theories of crisis and structural theories of crisis. The former would include the negative philosophies of history that provide an explanation for why the philosophies of history that underlay worldview marxism failed. The latter would entail accounts of crisis that veer from an account of the structure of society per se as one of structural crisis, to ones of periodisation in terms of a crisis engendered by transitions to different types of capitalism. I suppose my criticism of both would rely on the absence of a full explanation of dynamics: the first relying on history instead of the dynamics of history; the second on society or the particular structure of a historical period instead of a more complex account of that period in terms of how it manifests the essence of capitalism. This could then lead to a third part where I move to align the useful bits with a more fully-fledged Marxian account of how crisis develops from the historically specific social form of capitalist society.