Cornel West and the Politics of Prophetic Pragmatism

Cornel West and the Politics of Prophetic Pragmatism

by Mark Wood

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Cornel West and the Politics of Prophetic Pragmatism by Mark Wood

In this lucid and impassioned critique of the work of Harvard University professor Cornel West, Mark David Wood examines West's philosophy of prophetic pragmatism. Creatively combining elements of Christianity, pragmatism, and Marxism, West has articulated a liberationist "theology of the streets" that seeks to expand freedom and democracy throughout society. Indeed, West has become one of the most publicly influential black intellectuals in the United States and contributed significantly to the development of the progressive pragmatist political tradition.

Wood evaluates the political consequences of a shift in West's position from an earlier, revolutionary socialist stance to a later, progressive reformist one. In criticizing West's post-Marxist tendencies to downplay deep structural antagonisms, avoid class struggle, and abandon internationalism, Wood counters that struggles for ecological integrity, human rights, and social justice should be explicitly linked to the goal of socializing production to satisfy human needs and support universal individuation. His critique constitutes an important contribution to the development of a perspective that aims to enable U.S. workers and their allies to build a global society that is genuinely democratic.

About the Author:

Mark David Wood is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies and African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252025785
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 08/28/2000
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Prophetic Pragmatism and the Future of Revolutionary Democratic Politics 1(18)
The Christian-Marxist Dialogue and the End of Liberation Theology
Race, Class, Power
Racism and the Struggle for Working-Class Democracy
The Pragmatic Concepts of Truth, Reality, and Politics
The Past, Present, and Future of American Pragmatism
Saving the Nation in the Era of Transnational Capitalism
Prophetic Pragmatism and the American Evasion of Class Struggle
The Future of Revolutionary Democratic Politics
Notes 197(22)
Works Consulted 219(12)
Index 231

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