This study uses new arguments to reinvestigate the relation between aesthetics and politics in the contemporary debates on democratic theory and radical democracy.
First, Carl Schmitt and Claude Lefort help delineate the contours of an aesthetico-political understanding of democracy, which is developed further by studying Merleau-Ponty, Ranciere, and Arendt.
The ideas of Merleau-Ponty serve to establish a general "ontological" framework that aims to contest the dominant currents in contemporary democratic theory. It is argued that Merleau-Ponty, Arendt, and Ranciere share a general understanding of the political as the contingently contested spaces and times of appearances. However, the articulation of their thought leads to reconsider and explore under-theorized as well as controversial dimensions of their work.
This search for new connections between the political and the aesthetic thought of Arendt and Merleau-Ponty on one hand and the current widespread interest in Ranciere's aesthetic politics on the other make this book a unique study that will appeal to anyone who is interested in political theory and contemporary continental philosophy.
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Number of pages: 184
Weight: 403 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
Martin Plot's Latin American background, his experience teaching theory to American art school students, and his firm grasp of debates in contemporary political thought are brought together in this sweeping vision of an 'aesthetico-political' theory. Plot argues that normative political theory needs to learn what he calls 'theorizing from events.' Using theory to go beyond theory, his approach recalls what Richard Armstrong, the director of the Guggenheim museum, recently called for: 'not looking at but engaging with' our times. * Dick Howard, distinguished Professor Emeritus at Stony Brook University and author of The Primacy of the Political and The Specter of Democracy *
The political dimension of Merleau-Ponty's aesthetic and its implications for contemporary democratic thought have been little understood. Not only does Plot's improvisation on Merleau-Ponty's radical notion of the flesh, as distinct from body, contribute to remedying that situation, it also explains its importance for radical thought that interrogates the relation between modernity, the political and democracy. Through a `coherent deformation' Plot's book establishes the basis of the problematic of radical democracy and demonstrates its limits. * Jeremy Valentine, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK *
Just when one begins to think that there is not much new that can be said of the democratic insights at work in the thinking of Merleau-Ponty, Arendt, Lefort, and Ranciere, along comes Plot's original, insightful, and nuanced reading of these thinkers. Critical of democracy, but not dismissive of it, Plot provides a provocative, thoughtful, and extensive argument for democracy's reliance on an aesthetic dimension. This is an indispensable book for anyone working on the question of democracy today. * Peg Birmingham, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, US *