Jonathan Cape has pre-empted After the Experts by political economist William Davies, which will explore how the political landscape has shifted and speculate on what might come next if we are witnessing the end of an era of experts.
Bea Hemming, deputy publishing director of Jonathan Cape, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown. US rights were sold to W.W. Norton. Jonathan Cape will publish the book in spring 2018.
In the context of 2016 global politics - which not only challenged economists, pollsters and big-data analysts, but also long-held assumptions about liberal democracy - the book draws on philosophy, economics, sociology and psychoanalysis as a "major" new history of ideas. It promises to be a "roadmap" for the new political landscape.
According to Jonathan Cape, Davies will explore how the age of facts has given way to the age of data, how cultural divisions no longer map tidily onto economic ones, how the politics of emotion has replaced the politics of left and right, and what comes next.
Davies teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work is focused on the history of ideas, especially the history of economics. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, The Guardian, Atlantic, The New York Times, Washington Post and New Left Review. He is the author of The Happiness Industry (Verso) and The Limits of Neoliberalism (Sage).
Davies said: "I’m delighted to be working with Bea Hemming and Jonathan Cape on this book. Bea immediately understood and shared my ambition for the book, which is to address a number of serious philosophical and historical issues, but in ways that illuminate our times. I hope that After the Experts will be a book that speaks directly to our contemporary anxieties and questions, yet might nevertheless be read for many years to come. If we’re to avoid being dragged into the confusion of our alleged 'post-truth' era, we need to stand well back and offer calmer, longer-term analyses. It’s wonderful to have Jonathan Cape behind this project."
Hemming said: "As we are all still reeling from the political earthquakes of 2016, we need thinkers like William Davies more than ever. He has emerged as one of the most acute observers of our current political crisis, with a rare ability to show us the longer view and to make sense of these apparently senseless times. Much more than a post-truth book, After the Experts will be a major new history of ideas, but one that couldn’t be more timely or necessary. We’re enormously excited to be publishing it at Cape."