Research in Phenomenology 38 (2):198-215 (2008)
It has become nearly a truism for contemporary theorists of democracy to understand the democratic space as agonistic and contested. The shadow that haunts thinkers of democracy today, and out of which this assumption emerges, is the specter of totalitarianism with its claims to a totalizing knowledge in the form of ideology and a totalizing power of a sovereign will that claims to be the embodiment of the law. Caught up in these totalizing claims, the citizenry becomes elated. The only remedy to totalitarianism is a democratic space wherein no one can claim to know the truth, no one can claim to occupy the space of power, and no one can claim to embody the law. The problem with this remedy is that it fails entirely to take account of what Arendt understands to be the fundamental condition of totalitarianism, namely, the institution of a "lying world order" whereby reality is replaced with a lie. For Arendt therefore the remedy for totalitarianism and its elated citizenry depends first and foremost upon the existence of factual truth. Following Arendt as well as Shoshana Felman's work on testimony, I argue that bearing witness to factual reality is the ground of the democratic public space and the remedy to an elated citizenry caught up in a lying world order.
|Keywords||TESTIMONY TOTALITARIANISM DECEPTION WITNESSING HISTORY DEMOCRACY|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Multiple Moving Perceptions of the Real: Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, and Truitt.Helen A. Fielding - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (3):518-534.
Similar books and articles
Intersecting Memories: Bearing Witness to the 1989 Massacre of Women in Montreal.Sharon Rosenberg - 1996 - Hypatia 11 (4):119 - 129.
Globalization and the Evolution of Democratic Civil Society: Democracy as Spatial Discourse.Patrick M. Jenlink - 2007 - World Futures 63 (5 & 6):386 – 407.
Hannah Arendt and Education: Renewing Our Common World.Mordechai Gordon (ed.) - 2001 - Westview Press.
The Acts of Faith: On Witnessing in Derrida and Arendt.C. Barbour - 2011 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (6):629-645.
A Lying World Order : Political Deception and the Threat of Totalitarianism.Peg Birmingham - 2010 - In Roger Berkowitz, Jeffrey Katz & Thomas Keenan (eds.), Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics. Fordham University Press.
Building Capacity for the Development of a Critical Democratic Citizenry Through the Redefinition of Education.Raymond A. Horn Jr - 2004 - World Futures 60 (3):169 – 182.
Building Capacity for the Development of a Critical Democratic Citizenry Through the Redefinition of Education.J. R. Horn - 2004 - World Futures 60 (3):169 – 182.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads27 ( #185,551 of 2,154,092 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #398,005 of 2,154,092 )
How can I increase my downloads?