Derrida and the Political by Ric Beardsworth PDF

By Ric Beardsworth

ISBN-10: 0415109663

ISBN-13: 9780415109666

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Extra resources for Derrida and the Political

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The continuity of relationship, mutuality of commitment and recognition of plurality that were, for Arendt, fundamental to friendship are negated by totalitarianism. Totalitarianism necessitates the eradication of precisely those elements of social relationship – plurality, mutuality, and continuity – that constitute friendship. Friendship might, then, be seen as a defensive bulwark against the possibility of totalitarianism. However, it might also be seen – more positively and less defensively – as a proactive engagement with human plurality.

The liberal democratic and Marxist traditions both assumed that the meaning of political action, and of the revolutionary form such action can take, is to be found beyond ‘the political’ Friendship and Plurality 35 – in, for example, the private happiness of the liberal democratic state or the classless society of the communist state. The public space of political action was usurped by one or other system of socioeconomic management, each offering its own version of what Arendt saw as an antipolitical utopia.

Arendt threaded the twin strands of Nazism and Stalinism into her highly original analysis of totalitarianism, but she was not alone in highlighting the moral and political significance of what she saw as an entirely new force that had broken into – and fractured – human history: as early as 1940, Arthur Koestler had exposed the terror of the Stalinist purges in his novel Darkness at Noon; Albert Camus’ 1947 allegory, La Peste, had also shown the precariousness of human existence in the face of Nazi occupation; and George Orwell, in 1949, had given expression to the vulnerability of human beings in the face of totalitarianism in his futuristic Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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Derrida and the Political by Ric Beardsworth

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