Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Abstract

In this article, I contend that Hannah Arendt’s understanding of the political as the space of appearance of many, unique and distinct individuals, is particularly instructive for our time. Her work urges us to recover the political as the space where many interact in words and deeds, bringing visibility and reality to such plurality. This is in contrast to a traditional view of the political, seen as irrational and doomed if left to itself. According to this view, the political realm needs a rule and an order imposed from the outside, preferably a rational ideal, for it to be good. The mastery of the political requires that the many be subjugated, with plurality disappearing, and power conceived as a relationship of domination. Arendt teaches instead that power lies in the coming together of people, something which is feared by the status quo, for it subverts the given, and introduces something new into the world. By creating spaces where people interact in words and deeds, acknowledging and sharing their differences, politics comes alive and the new is possible. Although the new is often perceived as threatening, it is the only way towards a world less defined by domination and more a place for recognition and participation of all.

DOI / Publisher URL

https://doi.org/10.5325/soundings.101.1.0006

Comments

Publisher URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/soundings.101.1.0006?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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