Notes on Social Theory: Reviewing Anderson’s “H-Word” in the FT

Brief appreciation of Anderson’s latest The H-World. The Peripeteia of Hegemony (Verso, 2017) in the FT this weekend.

Many thanks to Ted Fertik for helping me to get these 1,100 words in shape. Credit all his. Blame all mine.

I end with the obvious question: “How will the foremost critic of liberal hegemony respond to the jarring displacement of the mellifluous Barack Obama by the crude power-grab of Trump and his entourage? As is commonly remarked, Trump is putting comedy out of business. Will he do the same to sophisticated intellectual leftism? Given the evident threat from the right and its own political weakness, should the left fall in with centrist calls for unity, forming a kind of 21st-century Popular Front? One can hardly imagine Anderson agreeing. At its peak, the liberal hegemony was only too happy to declare, “there is no alternative”. It would be painfully ironic if that hegemonic declaration were to command even greater practical force amid liberalism’s shambolic decomposition.”

It is a question to which Anderson has already given a decisive answer in the January issue of NLR with his merciless reckoning with the Obama-Trump transition, “Passing the Baton”.


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