Political theory – from classics to contemporaneity

Hélio Oiticica, Space Relief (red) REL 036, 1959


Presentation of the recently released book by Rubens Pinto Lyra

Here comes another book by Rubens Pinto Lyra, Professor Emeritus of the UFPB, without favor, one of the political scientists who has contributed the most to political theory in Brazil. Rubens has a long career in this field of his and now publishes the collection Political theory: from classics to contemporaneity, of which he is not only the organizer, but the author of half of his articles.

In the first part of this new book, Pinto Lyra discusses the classics Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau and in the second, on Marx and Gramsci, in addition to deepening the controversy between Lenin and Kautsky about Bolshevism.

Some of his articles deal with what Ruy Fausto qualifies as “the mist that envelops the history of the socialist movement in the XNUMXth century, which is much thicker than is generally supposed, and there are important materials buried under the weight of still powerful mythologies. . There are authors that one does not read, parties and organizations that have left no or almost no traces, there are almost forgotten events. Even the demystification of Stalinism, which began in the XNUMXs and has taken hold over the last few decades, played a contradictory role. If it was able to unmask the Stalinist version of the history of the left in the XNUMXth century, it did not fail to have a concealing role at the same time. One could even say that the anti-Stalinist profession of faith has become a guarantee of objectivity, under which new legends are hidden”.

The first part of the book also welcomes other important contributions, such as that of the professor of political science at USP, Célia Quirino, whose doctoral thesis inspired her article dedicated to Alexis de Tocqueville “On freedom and equality”. And also that of professor Alfredo Attié, president of the São Paulo Academy of Law, author of the article on Montesquieu and of an important book by this philosopher of law, published in Portugal.

In the second part of the collection, which deals with Marxism, in addition to the aforementioned works by Professor Rubens Pinto Lyra, the contribution of Professor Gabriel Vitullo, from UFRN, stands out in his study on “Rosa de Luxemburgo and the democratic question” e that of professor José Antonio Spinelli who analyzes “The counter-hegemony under flexible capitalism”.

In the third part of this collective work, among contemporary theorists, professor Ariosvaldo Diniz, from UFPB, offers us his “Michel Foucault: power and dispersion”. In this sense, it addresses the discourses on violent conflict, which is a symptomatic phenomenon of its cultural context, because, by creating a climate of fear, catastrophe and disorder, it ends up being used ideologically and politically as a means of restoring social harmony.

Professor Alba Maria Pinho de Carvalho, from the Federal University of Ceará, contributes with a careful interpretation of sociologist and political scientist Boaventura dos Santos on the reinvention of emancipation in contemporary times., one of the most widely read authors in Brazil today, in the field of social sciences, entirely devoted to the causes of Southern epistemologies. It is Boaventura dos Santos himself who tells us of the urgency of “seeking alternatives to neoliberal globalization and global capitalism, produced by social movements and NGOs, in their struggle against exclusion and discrimination in different social domains and in different countries”.

The third part of the collection in question is completed with Rubens Pinto Lyra's study on the renowned jurist and philosopher Norberto Bobbio and Vileni Garcia's on Jürgen Habermas. This, without a doubt, is an important book for political science and especially for political theory, either because of the intellectual quality of Rubens Pinto Lyra, or because of the company of renowned authors. It is time to reflect on the impasses of contemporaneity and the immense challenges it offers us.

*Marcos Costa Lima Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE).



Rubens Pinto Lyra (org.). Political theory: from classics to contemporaneity. João Pessoa, CCTA-UFPB Editor, 2022. 406 pages.


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