•  93
    This paper brings core concepts coined by Karl Marx in conversation with Jacques Lacan to analyse some of the mechanisms that have mystified subjects’ consciousness, and contributed to a scenario where the (white) working-classes in the United States and elsewhere turned to the far right that further undermines their existence, instead of uniting with the raced and gendered working class to overthrow capitalism. It explains that the money fetish, which we find at the center of the American Dream…Read more
  •  37
    The Contemporary Frankfurt School's Eurocentrism Unveiled: The Contribution of Amy Allen
    with Robert Nichols, Yves Winter, and Amy Allen
    Political Theory 46 (5): 772-800. 2018.
    I review Amy Allen's Book: The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (2016) as part of a Review Symposium: In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School critical theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual reading of the…Read more
  •  31
    Desires and Fears: Women, Class and Adorno
    Theory and Event 11 (1). 2008.
    Feminist thinkers have both appropriated the central concepts of the early Frankfurt School thinker Theodor W. Adorno, such as his concept of the non-identical, and pointed at his problematic depictions of the feminine. Despite the growing literature on the latter there is so far no scholarship that shows how the feminine interacts with class in Adorno’s figuration of the working-class woman. She appears in the Dialectic of Enlightenment and Adorno’s later texts as the maid, Circe, süsse Mädel…Read more
  •  30
    Rebelling against suffering in capitalism
    Contemporary Political Theory 17 (3): 263-282. 2018.
    In this article, I bring Marx and Adorno into conversation with affect theory to establish three points: First, an affective reading of the concepts of alienation and exploitation via Marx’s metaphor of the “vampire capital” explains the ways in which capitalism depletes raced, gendered, and sexed working class of their bodily and mental powers. Second, discussing these thinkers’ ideas in the context of the larger mind and body opposition revives attention to the body in contemporary political t…Read more
  •  29
    The Im-Possibility of a Feminist Subject
    Social Philosophy Today 25 47-60. 2009.
    It is widely acknowledged that the notion of a stable feminist subject, which refers to the category “woman” as a shared identity for all women, has led to the exclusion of all those women who do not fit neatly into its boundaries. Against the giving up of the subject or the invoking of the feminist subject as a pragmatic strategy, as suggested by Judith Butler, this paper suggests that we need a feminist subject-in-outline for an emancipatory feminist politics. Such a subject emerges in what Ja…Read more
  •  28
    This essay draws on Adorno's concept of the non-identical in conjunction with Lacan's concept of the Real to propose a " theoretical outline of the subject " as central for feminist political theorizing. A theoretical outline of the subject recognizes the limits of theorizing, the moment where meaning fails and we are confronted with the impossibility to fully grasp the subject. At the same time, it insists on the importance of a coherent subject through which to effect transformations in the so…Read more
  •  23
    Marx and the gendered structure of capitalism
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (7): 833-859. 2007.
    I argue that Marx's central concern, consistent throughout his works, is to challenge and overcome hierarchical oppositions, which he considers as the core of modern, capitalist societies and the cause of alienation. The young Marx critiques the hierarchical idealism/materialism opposition, in which idealism abstracts from and reduces all material elements to the mind (or spirit), and materialism abstracts from and reduces all mental abstractions to the body (or matter). The mature Marx sophisti…Read more
  •  21
    In this critical feminist exchange Laurie Naranch and Mary Caputi review my recently published book Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject (2017, Oxford University Press), and I provide a response to their reviews.
  •  17
    Rethinking embodied reflective judgment with Adorno and Arendt
    Constellations 25 (3): 446-458. 2018.
    In this article I draw on Theodor W. Adorno and Hannah Arendt to defend an account of judgment that I term embodied reflective judgment, which implies that thinking and feeling are interconnected and both are crucial for critical judgment. However, when I say that both thinking and feeling are important for reflective judgment, I do not mean to imply that they are separate and distinct entities. Rather, the idea of reflective judgment is based on the insight that thinking and feeling are not onl…Read more
  •  16
    Radical Political Change: A Feminist Perspective
    Radical Philosophy Review 17 (1): 227-250. 2014.
    This paper answers the question what is radical philosophy today by explaining the how, when, and who of socio-political transformation. We need both critical theorizing and a transformative practice to explain how we can change the world. We must theorize the moment of the limit in the objective domain of power, to answer the question when agency becomes possible. I introduce the idea of the “political subject-in-outline” that moves within the tension of minimal closure and permanent openness t…Read more
  •  13
    Theorizing Feminist Political Subjectivity: A Reply to Caputi and Naranch
    Journal of International Political Theory 2018 (published online first, May 2018): 1-22. 2018.
    I would like to start out by thanking Larie Naranch and Mary Caputi for their inspiring and thought provoking comments, which helped me to think not only about the content of the book, but also further implications of it. Before responding to their comments, I would like to briefly outline the main themes of the book. My book brings German (Karl Marx and Theodor W. Adorno) and French (Jacques Lacan) thought in conversation to answer questions of socio-political change, and thereby develops the i…Read more
  •  13
    This chapter combines the insights of Sigmund Freud and Theodor W. Adorno to explain some of the psychoanalytic mechanisms that contributed to a scenario where people voted for a leader who undermines their very existence. Trump successfully exploited feelings of failure of the millions of Americans who have not been able to live up to the liberal capitalist ideology of success. By replacing their ego ideal with that of their leader, Trump voters could get rid of the frustration and discontent t…Read more
  •  9
    This article is part of a Critical Dialogue, in which I review James Martel's book The Misinterpellated Subject, and Martel reviews my book Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject. In this article I respond to Martel's review of my book.
  •  9
    The Politics of Misrecognition: A Feminist Critique
    The Good Society 18 (1). 2009.
    For the past decade and a half, social and political thinkers have appropriated the Hegelian trope of a “struggle for recognition” to generate theories that lead to a democratic politics of inclusion. The different strands within the “politics of recognition debate” share the conviction that “recognition” is a central human good and the precondition for justice in pluralist societies. However, the French psychoanalytic philosopher Jacques Lacan questions an ethics based on recognition. I share …Read more
  •  8
    Radical or Neoliberal Political Imaginary? Nancy Fraser Revisited
    In Werner Bonefeld, Beverley Best & Chris O'Kane (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Sage Publications. pp. 550-563. 2018.
    The core question that concerns me in this chapter is the following: Can Nancy Fraser’s model of justice actually deliver that radical political imaginary that we need today to transform neo-liberal capitalism into a better society where the suffering capitalism has brought onto the world stage ceases to exist? This essay aims to find an answer to this question in the following three sections. In section two, ‘The Drama Continues: Neo-liberalism Reinforced’, I first provide an overview of Fraser…Read more
  •  8
    According to postmodern scholars, subjects are defined only through their relationship to institutions and social norms. But if we are only political people insofar as we are subjects of existing power relations, there is little hope of political transformation. To instigate change, we need to draw on collective power, but appealing to a particular type of subject, whether "working class," "black," or "women," will always be exclusionary. This issue is a particular problem for feminist scholars,…Read more
  •  7
    In this chapter, I discuss Sophocles’ Antigone as a paradigmatic example of what the Italian political philosopher Giorgio Agamben identified as homo sacer, that is, someone who is simultaneously cursed and declared sacred. Set off from society, they are deprived of rights and, thus, may subsequently be killed with impunity. In this chapter, I elaborate on the ways in which Antigone dwells at the zone of indistinction between the public and the private, the included and the excluded, life and de…Read more
  •  6
    In this book-chapter I draw on Michel Foucault to explain the mechanisms of marginalization of women from working-class origins in academic institutions in the US American context. I explain the ways in which the discursive construction of the working classes as “the Other” in academic knowledge production is part of a disciplinary power that functions to keep women from working-class origins either out or at the margins of academia institutions. In academic institutions such disciplinary power …Read more
  •  6
    Mourning Denied: The Tabooed Subject
    In Alexander Keller Hirsch & David W. McIvor (eds.), The Democratic Arts of Mourning: Political Theory and Loss, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 65-82. 2019.
    This chapter shows that taboos erected around crimes inhibit individuals and nations work of mourning for the victims of crimes, which is the precondition to take responsibility for the crimes, show solidarity with the victims and their descendants (such as the support of their claims for reparations), and make sure that such crimes are not repeated. It brings Theodor W. Adorno and Sigmund Freud in conversation to explain the connection between taboos and the failure to mourn, which it further e…Read more
  •  6
    Critical Dialogue: The Misinterpellated Subject by James Martel
    Perspectives on Politics 16 (1): 170-172. 2018.
    This article is part of a "Critical Dialogue", in which I review James Martel's book The Misinterpellated Subject, and Martel reviews my book Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject. We then respond to each other's reviews.
  •  5
    In this book, Claudia Leeb delivers a critical perspective on the current traditional as well as feminist aggression research discourse. She challenges the female/non-aggressive and male/aggressive opposition found in these discourses and introduces “direct female aggression” as a positive concept for women. The development of the qualitative research design is based on her argument that aggression is more determined by social group contexts than by gender: after viewing movies that display aggr…Read more
  •  4
    A philosophical investigation of dealing with guilt and its impact on democracy. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt and Theodor W. Adorno, this book illustrates the relevance and applicability of a political discussion of guilt and democracy. It appropriates psychoanalytic theory to analyse court documents of Austrian Nazi perpetrators as well as recent public controversies surrounding Austria’s involvement in the Nazi atrocities and ponders how the former agents of Hitlerite crimes and cont…Read more
  •  3
    Preface and Introduction
    In Claudia Leeb, Lisa Gurley & Anna Aloisia Moser (eds.), Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy, Peter Lang. pp. 11-17. 2005.
    The color of the book’s cover alludes to the time and context in which this important volume originated: the 3rd Interdisciplinary Conference Celebrating International Women’s Day at the New School for Social Research in New York City. At that time ‘orange alerts’ were issued by the United States to create a climate of fear and thereby stifle any critical debate of its foreign and domestic policy. The feminist thinkers presented in this volume are alert that such a critique is needed. They draw …Read more
  •  2
    Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy
    with Lisa Gurley and Anna Aloisia Moser
    PIE - Peter Lang. 2005.
    The color of the book’s cover alludes to the time and context in which this important volume originated: the 3rd Interdisciplinary Conference Celebrating International Women’s Day at the New School for Social Research in New York City. At that time ‘orange alerts’ were issued by the United States to create a climate of fear and thereby stifle any critical debate of its foreign and domestic policy. The feminist thinkers presented in this volume are alert that such a critique is needed. They draw …Read more
  •  2
    The core aim of this article is to arrive at an understanding of the growing appeal of the “Alt-Right” (Alternative Right), a white-supremacist and anti-feminist movement, for young, mostly male, Millennials in the United States. It draws on Theodor W. Adorno’s critical theorizing of laughter fabricated by the culture industry to outline the ways in which the Alt-Right uses laughter in its culture industry on the internet to recruit new members to its extremist ideas. It also explains the ways i…Read more
  •  1
    Mass Hypnoses: The Rise of the Far Right from an Adornian and Freudian Perspective
    Berlin Journal of Critical Theory 2 (3): 59-82. 2018.
    In this article I combine the insights of the early Frankfurt school critical theory, in particular those of Theodor W. Adorno, with the insights of psychoanalytic theory, in particular those of Sigmund Freud, to show how economic factors interact with psychological factors to grasp the rise of the far right, as the current literature only focuses on one or the other and thus can’t explain their important connections. It shows that the bond between the leader and her followers is the result of t…Read more
  •  1
    In this original book, Claudia Leeb uses a poststructuralist perspective to chart explicit and tacit assumptions about the working class in general and the working-class woman specifically in the classical texts of prominent political philosophers and social critics including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Rousseau, Marx, Weber and Bourdieu. The author argues that philosophical discourses that construct such categories as the Other function as disciplinary practices that aim at keeping working-class wo…Read more
  • Modern capitalist societies are plagued by the prevalence of a series of oppositions, such as the subject/object, theory/practice, and the mind/body opposition. The problem with these oppositions is that they appear in an absolute opposition and in a hierarchical relation, which makes the negative pole (the object, practice and the body) appear inferior to the positive pole. In my previous work I have shown that the “inferior” pole is (often unconsciously) linked to women, racial minorities an…Read more