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André Gorz

A Life

The first and exhaustive biography of twentieth-century leftist philosopher André Gorz.
Recognized as one of the most lucid and innovative critics of contemporary capitalism, André Gorz (1923–2007) was known for asking fundamental questions regarding the meaning of life and work. This first biography of a unique figure operating at the confluence of literature, philosophy, and journalism revisits half a century of intellectual and political life.
Born Gerhart Hirsch in Vienna, he studied in Switzerland before opting to live and work in France. A self-taught existentialist thinker, he was constantly revising his view of the world, unafraid to break new theoretical ground in doing so. Influenced by Marx, Husserl, Sartre, and Illich, he had very close affinities with the new thinking on the Left that was coming out of Italy in the 1960s and 70s. He was also one of the first thinkers to shape political ecology and to advocate de-growth. The intellectual on the editorial board of Sartre’s journal Les Temps Modernes, Gorz was also a mainstream journalist. He wrote in L’Express under the sobriquet Michel Bosquet before joining others in the creation of Le Nouvel Observateur.
Through Gorz’s life journey, we meet not only Sartre and de Beauvoir, but also Herbert Marcuse, Fidel Castro, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Ivan Illich, Félix Guattari, Antonio Negri, and many others. Beyond his poignant autobiographical narratives, The Traitor and Letter to D, which attest to his deep humanity, Gorz remains a precious guide for all who believe that another world is still possible.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Paths to Postcapitalism
The Alienation of Modern Man
The 1940s and 1950s: Comfort and Conformism
Chapter 1. A Stranger to Himself
Chapter 2. The Construction of Self
Chapter 3. The Third Force
Chapter 4. Journalism as Compromise
Chapter 5. Alienation in the Affluent Society

Liberation from Work in the Age of Automation
The 1960s: Fordism and the Welfare State
Chapter 6. Revolutionary Reformism
Chapter 7. Automation and the New Working Class
Chapter 8. Arduous Socialism
Chapter 9. The Ferment of ’68

The Liberation of Life In a Time of Visceral Opposition to Work
The 1970s: Zero Growth and Ecology
Chapter 10. Critique of Technology and Science
Chapter 11. Changing Life, with Ivan Illich
Chapter 12. Ecological Emergency and De-growth

Freeing Up Time in the Age of the Dual Society
1980s-1990s: Toyotism and the Precariat
Chapter 13. Farewells to the Working Class
Chapter 14. Autonomy and the Dangers of the Dual Society
Chapter 15. The Invention and End of Work
Chapter 16. Beyond the Wage-Based Society

Towards the Civilization of Free: Time in the Era of the Immaterial
The 2000s: Financialization and Circulation of Knowledge
Chapter 17. Toward the Intelligent Society?
Chapter 18. Another World is Possible
Chapter 19. The Final Freedom

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Bibliography and Sources
Index of Names

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