Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.
Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital promises to be a historical milestone in contemporary social theory.
Vivek Chibber is Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University. He has contributed to, among others, the Socialist Register, American Journal of Sociology, Boston Review and New Left Review. His book Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India won the 2005 Barrington Moore Book Award and was one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles of 2004.
‘It seems that in this first round of (mono) debate, it is advantage Chibber. One hopes that the subalternists will come up with an equally robust response’— Frontline
(See the face-off between Gayatri Spivak and Vivek Chibber here.)
‘This thoughtful critique of post-colonial theory via an examination of the Subaltern Studies oeuvre is a welcome academic intervention’—The Statesman
‘Though many things are being said about Vivek Chibber’s new book, it is unlikely at this point that anyone will call the book boring’—Marxist Marginali
(See the face-off between Partha Chatterjee and Vivek Chibber here.)
‘The book represents a wide-ranging challenge to many of the core tenets of postcolonial theory’—Jacobin
‘The book we were all waiting for—a burst of fresh air’—Slavoj Žižek
‘Outstanding work—a model of clarity in its architecture and argumentation’—Achin Vanaik
‘Scrupulous and perceptive… a very significant contribution’—Noam Chomsky
‘A thoroughgoing dissection of Subaltern Studies’—Amiya Kumar Bagchi
‘A bravura performance’—Robert Brenner