This first collection of Peter Beilharz's highly influential thought traces the themes and problems, manifestations, and trajectories of socialism and modernity as they connect and shift over a twenty-year period. Woven throughout Beilharz's analysis is the urgent question of modern utopia: how do we imagine freedom and equality in modernity?
The essays in this volume explore the relationship between socialism and modernity across the United States, Europe, and Australia from the mid-1980s to the turn of the twenty-first century, a time that witnessed the global triumph of capitalism and the dramatic turn away from Marxism and socialism to modernity as the dominant perspective. According to Beilharz, we have seen the expansion of a kind of Weberian Marxism, with the concept of revolution giving way to the idea of pluralized forms of power and the idea of rupture giving way to the postmodern sense of difference. These changes come together with the discourse of modernism, both aesthetic and technological.
Socialism and modernity, Beilharz argues, are fundamentally interrelated. In correcting the conflation of Marxism, Bolshevism, and socialism that occludes contemporary political thinking, he reopens a space for discussion of what socialist politics might look like now-in the postcommunist-postcolonial-postmodern moment.