The pleasure of your company: Arendt, Kristeva, and an ethics of public happiness

Research in Phenomenology 33 (1):53-74 (2003)
In this essay, I examine Arendt's and Kristeva's account of the archaic event of natality, arguing that each attempts to show how this event is the source of our pleasure in the company of others. I first examine Arendt's understanding of natality, showing that in her early writings, specifically in The Origin of Totalitarianism, the event of natality carries with it a capacity for violence that Arendt does not continue to develop in her later formulations. This lack of development leaves her later thought, specifically her notion of "public happiness" strangely light-minded on the topic of domination, unable to give an account of how violence can be part and parcel of our appearance in the public space itself. I then turn to Kristeva's understanding of the event of natality, arguing that her account, specifically the "violence beneath our desires" contributes significantly to Arendt's account of natality, allowing us to understand how pleasure in the company of others is possible despite such violence. I argue that Kristeva locates our capacity for public happiness in the aspect of natality Arendt abandons in her later thought. I conclude by showing how Kristeva's account of natality provides a foundation for Arendt's understanding of public happiness.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/15691640360699609
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

22 ( #132,874 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.