The possibility of an ethical politics: From peace to liturgy

Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (4):49-73 (2000)
This essay examines the possibility of developing an ethical politics out of the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas' own work does not accomplish this kind of politics. He opts instead for a politics of peace, which, as this essay argues, falls short of the demands of the ethical. Thus, this essay both provides an account of Levinas' own politics and develops resources from within Levinas' own work for thinking beyond that politics. An alternative, liturgical politics is sketched out. In a liturgical politics, law must be thought on a redistributive model. Redistribution, it is argued, responds more adequately to the extravagant generosity of ethics than the neutral 'droits de l'homme' developed in Levinas' political philosophy. Key Words: ethics • law • Levinas • liturgy • peace • politics • redistribution.
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DOI 10.1177/019145370002600403
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