Roberto Mangabeira Unger. Born in Brazil. Professor of Law at Harvard University
, Philosopher, Political Activisit, Author.
Like most Latin American philosophers
, Unger's work is decidedly Western, his training in philosophy
being a mixture of analytic
philosophy, and Christian
morality. Though certainly aware of the complexity of its own history, Latin American philosophy is often little concerned with what historically counts as genuinely Latin American
(e.g., Mayan, Aztec, or some other indigenous thought). Like Mexico's Octavio Paz
, Unger strives to forge an identity
for his people, whose identity is always already to some extent erased, nations of peoples who are caught on that curious precipice where Latin America meets Europe and the United States.
The liberal character of Unger's work is consistent with many of the intellectual avant-garde
of today, not the least of which is the neopragmatist Richard Rorty
, who wrote of him that, "his work has a better chance than most to be linked with a world-changing event", and the African American theorist Cornel West
, with whom Unger co-authored The Future of American Progressivism
. Unger's work is also described by the author as directly in the tradition of 'political Marx
ists', notably Antonio Gramsci
Unger has written many texts in English, Portugese, and Spanish. His English language bibliography of book-length texts includes:
- Knowledge and Politics (1975)
- Law in Modern Society: Toward a Criticism of Social Theory (1975)
- Passion: An Essay on Personality (1984)
- The Critical Legal Studies Movement (1986)
- Politics: A Work in Constructive Social Theory (3 volumes, 1987)
- What Should Legal Analysis Become? (1996)
- Democracy Realized: The Progressive Alternative (1998)
- The Future of American Progressivism: An Initiative for Political and Economic Reform (with Cornel West, 1998)
His works in Portugese include:
- A alternativa transformadora: como democratizar o Brasil (1990)
- O proximo passo: uma alternativa pratica ao neoliberalismo (with Ciro Gomes, 1996).
A few brief Roberto Unger quotes:
"Practical or material progress is the empowerment of humanity to act upon the world."
"Institutional innovations must be completed by stories people can tell about danger and opportunity and in the reconciliation of solidarity."
"The most important fact about us: that we are greater than the institutions and cultures we build."