Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism
Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject
Oxford University Press 2017
New Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 26, 2017 Lilly Goren
Claudia Leeb’s new book, Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject (Oxford University Press, 2017), takes up pressing issues within contemporary political and feminist theory, especially as we consider the point of action and the instance of movement. This book marries together important questions within political theory, feminist theory, and economics with specific focus on the idea of subject and how an individual subject may be poised towards action, particularly in context of moving towards a more equitable political and economic system. Leeb’s book, which theorizes about the contested nature of the political subject, explores the concept of the political subject in outline as she has titled this theory. This reinterpretation of the political subject is as an incomplete political subject, given the contested interpretations of this concept in political theory, feminist theory, and psychological theory.
The text goes on to examine key political and feminist theorists in framing the positioning of the political subject, putting Marx, Adorno, and Lacan and other Frankfurt School theorists into conversation with feminist theorists. Leeb, as a result of theorizing the capacity for action by the political subject in outline, explores the tension between theory and practice, noting this mediated relationship, and delving into why there is such tension between theory and practice, especially within the academe. The issue of transformative agency, especially a kind of intersectional transformative agency that integrates both feminist and economic impulses, is at the center of Leeb’s analysis and presses on some of the limits of theory as disconnected from the practice of politics.