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Recent Works

Signs of the Great Refusal (punctum books, 2023)  

Postwork Political Theory 

In recent years, developed countries have witnessed the rise of a popular literature and social media discussion having to do with ‘the problem with work today.’ Much of this literature presents what amounts to an unacceptable either/or: workers are encouraged either to ‘lean-in,’ and become better ‘human capitals,’ or else they are being offered palliative care for these same “neoliberal selves,” by means of admonitions to undertake personal projects of self-optimization, recovery, and wellness.

In Signs of the Great Refusal, Tedd Siegel challenges the assumptions supporting this set of highly constrained possibilities, asking instead about what it might take to de-privatize and re-politicize work itself under contemporary conditions, in order to make a broad-based politics of refusal potentially viable. Where post-work, anti-work, and degrowth discussions taking place today often describe and promote various ‘post-work imaginaries’ in which the de-commodification of labor is only implied, Signs of the Great Refusal is concerned specifically with the ‘post-work political imaginary.’ Taking up a question formulated by Peter Fleming, Siegel asks, “Can the impossibility at the heart of contemporary capitalism be politically activated to oppose and escape work-as-we-know-it?”


Nativism, Nationalism, and Patriotism (2020) - Chapter 1


What does it mean to ground a national identity in a shared and voluntary political commitment to live according to a certain set of principles? Can civic nationalism and constitutional patriotism be defended? In the 90s and 2000s, these notions took quite a beating. But the current rise of neo-nationalism in mature, Western democracies places the question of civil society once again at the heart of both theoretical and practical concern. Why should it be so difficult to describe the solidarity of constitutionally patriotic citizens for whom the nation is a shared democratic, civic life?


In the first chapter of this collection, Siegel reminds us that the post-nationalist nation is a community with shared thin notions of the good.  It should be possible to locate this commitment in the real experience of American civic life. Siegel seeks to explore what lay behind Americans' constitutional patriotism, and what can be seen to flow from it – namely, a “desire to live together” as Ernest Renan famously wrote, but in a politically and socially particular way.

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In Dark Times

Blog (2016 - 2023)

In Dark Times started with the observation, in the days immediately following the 2016 presidential election, that people seemed to be saying these words repetitively – “clearly, we’re living in dark times.” Steve Heikkila and Tedd Siegel sing through these dark times together in a series of political essays.

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