Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.21
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $3.21   
  • New (7) from $17.84   
  • Used (9) from $3.21   


This book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life: the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left. As the study of political history and theory has been usurped by cultural criticism, a confusion over the origins and objectives of progressive politics has been the result. Specifically, it has become fashionable for intellectuals to attack the Enlightenment for its imperialism, eurocentrism, and scientism, and for the sexism and racism of some of its major representatives. Although the fact that individual thinkers harbored such prejudices is irrefutable, Stephen Bronner argues that reducing the Enlightenment ethos to these beliefs is wholly unsustainable.

With its championing of democracy, equality, cosmopolitanism, and reason--and its vociferous attacks on popular prejudice, religious superstition, and arbitrary abuses of power--the Enlightenment was once hailed as the foundation of all modern, progressive politics. But in 1947, this perspective was dramatically undermined when Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno published their classic work, Dialectic of Enlightenment, which claims that the Enlightenment was the source of totalitarianism and the worst excesses of modernity. Reclaiming the Enlightenment from purely philosophical and cultural interpretations, Bronner shows that its notion of political engagement keeps democracy fresh and alive by providing a practical foundation for fostering institutional accountability, opposing infringements on individual rights, instilling an enduring commitment to social reform, and building a cosmopolitan sensibility. This forceful and timely reinterpretation of the Enlightenment and its powerful influence on contemporary political life is a resounding wake-up call to critics on both the left and the right.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Benjamin R. Barber

Stephen Bronner offers a persuasive 'rehabilitation' of the Enlightenment in which he argues forcefully that despite the demolition of reason by left 'dialectical' critics, the Age of Reason remains a valuable source of progressive thinking and radical insights. An important work for students and scholars as well as for political practitioners.

Philip Green

Stephen Bronner's study of the Enlightenment and its reception is not only superb but timely. Bronner rescues the Enlightenment from critics of both the left and the right. In the future, anyone who wants to defend arguments about ethical reason or scientific knowledge based on local prejudices will have to deal with Bronner's decisive arguments.

Marshall Berman

Stephen Bronner shows how today's Left has impoverished, even poisoned itself by sliding unawares into the language and imagery of the European Counter-Enlightenment, the movement against 1776 and 1789. But he also shows us how the not-quite-lost language of the Enlightenment can be our Magic Flute, if we just have the courage to grasp it and play our own variations on its themes.

Perspectives of Politics - Sankar Muthu

Reclaiming the Enlightenment is a vigorous and thought-provoking book.


Simultaneously a scholarly study and an impassioned manifesto, this masterful book by Bronner responds to the left-wing critique of the Enlightenment.

Cornel West

Stephen Bronner has written a much-needed and never-completed sequel to Adorno and Horkheimer's classic Dialectic of Enlightenment. His powerful defense of political liberty, social justice, and cosmopolitanism is the best extension of the Enlightenment legacy we have. His challenge to one-eyed rationalists, all-or-nothing romantics, and self-pitying nihilists is powerful and persuasive.


Simultaneously a scholarly study and an impassioned manifesto, this masterful book by Bronner responds to the left-wing critique of the Enlightenment.

Perspectives of Politics
Reclaiming the Enlightenment is a vigorous and thought-provoking book.

— Sankar Muthu

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231126090
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Eric Bronner is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and director of civic diplomacy and human rights at the Institute for World Challenges, Rutgers University. He is the senior editor of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture and the author of many books, including Imagining the Possible: Radical Politics for Conservative Times; Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists; and Socialism Unbound.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Interpreting the Enlightenment: Metaphysics, Tradition, and PoliticsIn Praise of ProgressInventing LiberalismThe Great Divide: Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment, and the Public SphereAbolishing the Ghetto: Anti-Semitism, Racism, and the OtherThe Illusory Dialectic: From Enlightenment to TotalitarianismExperiencing Reality: The Culture Industry, Subjectivity, and IdentityPathways to Freedom: Rights, Reciprocity, and the Cosmopolitan SensibilityRenewing the Legacy: Renewing the Legacy

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)