16 February 2017

Review: Dreamworld and Catastrophe by Susan Buck-Morss

A few recent audio drama reviews at Unreality SF: the Doctor and Benny try to save Christmas in "The Hesitation Deviation"; the Doctor submits funding applications (not as good as it sounds) in Vampire of the Mind; and two Masters meet in, well, The Two Masters.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published 2000
Borrowed from the library
Read September 2013
Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West
by Susan Buck-Morss

I liked the first chapter of this book a lot. It sets up a lot of interesting ideas: that there is an intimate connection between the state and violence (1) (shades of James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State), that state violence against noncitizens is more acceptable than that within the civil state (8, 16), that revolutions are simply wars fought in civil society for the control of time rather than space, i.e., the future rather than territory (22, 29), and that revolutions sacrifice the present to bring about a better future (29). Once Buck-Morss set up these basic principles, however, I found the rest of the book much less compelling; it was one of those critical books where I just kept flipping pages, hoping to find something insightful, but to very little avail. As always, this doesn't necessarily mean it was bad, but it certainly wasn't the book I was looking for.

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