Inspired by Immanuel Wallerstein’s Utopistics, this book shows why utopistics cannot advance without sober and self-critical revisitations of its own intellectual heritage. Most sympathetic critiques of Marxism have targeted the shortcomings in its practices and/or theories (including its materialist conception of history), while regarding Marx’s materialist dialectical method as sacred ground. Through a succinct analysis of the inner contradictions of the three practical, theoretical, and methodological tenets of classical Marxism, Tamdgidi argues that the root causes of Marxism’s decline must be sought in Marx’s method itself.
This book concludes with a critical reexamination of the relation of Marxism and utopianism, arguing that Marx and Engels’s debunking of utopianism in contrast to science had more of an ideological function than substantive merits, an ultimate error that set back the cause of advancing alternative strategies for radical social change for decades.
A substantial methodological appendix is devoted to the exposition of a non-reductive, creative dialectical method more conducive to advancing utopistics.
“In Tamdgidi's critical study of Marxism and its troubled relationship to utopianism, the pull between what is and what should be is re-explored creatively, resulting in a new and promising utopistics, shorn of limiting dualisms and conceits. An equally rigorous and hopeful book.”
—Avery F. Gordon,University of California at Santa Barbara
“Tamdgidi does the field of Marxist critique a great service in developing a more nonreductive dialectical method, laying bare self-defeating Eurocentric structures of thinking. Tamdgidi's suggestion—that utopistics must be a creative endeavor, to which all forms of knowledge and experience, Western and Eastern, scientific and otherwise, can and should critically contribute—is a major advance in the field of world-systems studies."
—Peter McLaren, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies,University of California at Los Angeles
“The argument of Dr. Tamdgidi’s book, that anti-utopianism in the form of radical materialism of the later Marx jeopardizes the creative dimension of dialectical thought, offers a critique and theoretical response rooted in the complex forces of the self as lived. The work is a contribution in Marxist social thought, in that it is a part of the stream that offers arguments for reconsidering the early Marx, but it is also a work in agency-oriented dialectical social thought.”
—Lewis R. Gordon, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy at Temple University and the Jay Newman Visiting Professor of Philosophy of Culture at Brooklyn College
“All of Professor Tamdgidi’s broad knowledge in world-history and East/West epistemologies are powerfully condensed in Advancing Utopistics. His book is a tour-de-force in several fields of scholarship such as world-systems, sociology of knowledge, and Marxist sociology, recasting both Mannheim’s and Wallerstein’s concept of utopia. Here he develops a radical critique of what he calls the three component parts and errors of Marxism … His recasting of the dialectical method beyond the binary of idealism vs. materialism is an original and crucial contribution to sociological theory.”
—Ramón Grosfoguel, Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley