Today neoliberals argue that we should let ourselves be guided by market forces and that there is little we can do to stem the flow of economic globalization. On the other hand, thinkers on the left continue to denounce domination and claim to speak in the name of victims who are powerless to change the circumstances of their lives. Despite the differences between these two political positions, they suffer from a common weakness: they underestimate the role of autonomous social actors who are capable of influencing political decision-making.
In this important new book Alain Touraine - the leading sociologist and social theorist - attacks the positions of the neoliberals and certain thinkers on the left and develops an alternative view of the tasks for political thought and action today. He argues that the globalization of the economy has not dissolved our capacity for political action, and that the actions of the most underprivileged sections of society are not restricted to rebellion against domination: they can also demand rights (in particular, cultural rights), and can therefore put forward an innovative and not merely critical conception of society and its future.
Beyond Neoliberalism is an original and timely contribution to current debates about the changing nature and goals of politics in our contemporary, globalized age. It will be of great interest to students of politics and sociology and will also appeal to a broader readership interested in contemporary politics and current affairs.
Alain Touraine is Professor of Sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
Introduction. 1. The Return of Capitalism. 2. Four Exits. 3. New Social Movements?. 4. The Social Left and the Ultra-Left. 5. Two Possible Policies: the Third Way and a Two-and-a-Half Policy. Conclusions. Notes. Index.