Critical Terms

This new series of articles, following on from Soundings Futures and The Kilburn Manifesto, will contribute to the task of making sense of contemporary politics by sharing a set of ideas that we have found essential to our own analysis of politics, including a specific approach to examining and understanding those ideas.

Our aim is to give a theoretical and historical introduction to a number of key political ideas, and trace how they have emerged, but also to discuss their relation to political practice, grounding them in empirical examples. We also hope to emphasise pluralism, showing that subtle differences in the ways in which concepts are understood within different contexts and traditions can lead to very different interpretations of the best way to build a better society, but also that these are differences on which critical alliances must be built. We also see the series as an opportunity for writers to think core concepts of left politics anew for this changing world. The series will provide a space of left debate for all who are interested in the political - those engaged in lived struggle as well as in the domains of formal politics.

While the series was planned before Brexit and Trump, it now seems all the more relevant to create an open set of articles that make available some of the intellectual tools that can help us to understand the world – and with which we hope to change it.

Critical terms instalments (free to read)

1. Deborah Grayson and Ben Little, Conjunctural analysis and the crisis of ideas
2. Ben Little and Alison Winch, Generation: the politics of patriarchy and social change
3. Phoebe Moore, On work and machines: a labour process of agility
4. Michael Rustin, The question of progressive agency
5. David Featherstone and Lazaros Karaliotas, Populism