The politics of imagination and the public role of religion

Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (8):985-1005 (2009)
Abstract
The aim of this article is to show that, in order to understand the new public role of religion, we need to rethink the nexus, often neglected by contemporary philosophy, between politics and imagination. The current resurrection of religion in the public sphere is linked to a deep transformation of political imagination which has its roots in the double process of the reduction of politics to mere administration, on the one hand, and to spectacle, on the other. In an epoch when politics is said to be simply a question of ‘good governance’, of good administration within a neo-liberal consensus, the paradox is that of a lack of political imagination which goes hand in hand with its hypertrophy through the media. This article tackles this paradox, by firstly discussing the nexus of politics, imagination and religion and, secondly, by analysing their contemporary transformations. In conclusion, the thesis is illustrated through the analysis of some contemporary examples
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