Recent works have recovered the ethical and political value of shame, suggesting that if shame is felt for the right reasons, toxic forms of shame may be alleviated. Rereading Hannah Arendt's biography of the “conscious pariah,” Rahel Varnhagen,Locke concludes that a politics of shame does not have the radical potential its proponents seek. Access to a public world, not shaming those who shame us, catapults the shamed pariah into the practices of democratic citizenship.
Is shame dead? With personal information made so widely available, an eroding public/private distinction, and a therapeutic turn in public discourse, many seem to think so. People across the political spectrum have criticized these developments and sought to resurrect shame in order to protect privacy and invigorate democratic politics. Democracy and the Death of Shame reads the fear that 'shame is dead' as an expression of anxiety about the social disturbance endemic to democratic politics. Far from an essential supplement to (...) democracy, the recurring call to 'bring back shame' and other civilizing mores is a disciplinary reaction to the work of democratic citizens who extend the meaning of political equality into social realms. Rereadings from the ancient Cynics to the mid-twentieth century challenge the view that shame is dead and show how shame, as a politically charged idea, is disavowed, invoked, and negotiated in moments of democratic struggle. (shrink)
This essay interprets Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “social question” through a reading of her controversial essay “Reflections on Little Rock.” I argue that Arendt’s social question refers to social climbing and not simply poverty, as she initially suggests. The social-climbing framework illuminates “Little Rock” in two ways. First, it explains why Arendt opposed mandatory school desegregation, which she saw as black social climbing, that is, African American citizens and the NAACP using the US courts and federal government to raise (...) the status of African Americans to the level of whites. Second, and more significant, it provides a framework for criticizing “Little Rock” with Arendt’s own standards and criteria in mind. Reminded by Arendt of the suspect politics of social climbing, we can see something she did not: segregation was not “natural” association but an institution established after the Civil War to protect white social climbing and social advancement. (shrink)
: Recent works have recovered the ethical and political value of shame, suggesting that if shame is felt for the right reasons, toxic forms of shame may be alleviated. Rereading Hannah Arendt's biography of the "conscious pariah," Rahel Varnhagen, Locke concludes that a politics of shame does not have the radical potential its proponents seek. Access to a public world, not shaming those who shame us, catapults the shamed pariah into the practices of democratic citizenship.
Recent works have recovered the ethical and political value of shame, suggesting that if shame is felt for the right reasons, toxic forms of shame may be alleviated. Rereading Hannah Arendt's biography of the “conscious pariah,” Rahel Varnhagen, Locke concludes that a politics of shame does not have the radical potential its proponents seek. Access to a public world, not shaming those who shame us, catapults the shamed pariah into the practices of democratic citizenship.
This essay is part of a special issue celebrating 50 years of Political Theory. The ambition of the editors was to mark this half century not with a retrospective but with a confabulation of futures. Contributors were asked: What will political theory look and sound like in the next century and beyond? What claims might political theorists or their descendants be making in ten, twenty-five, fifty, a hundred years’ time? How might they vindicate those claims in their future contexts? How (...) will the consistent concerns of political theorists evolve into the questions critical for people decades or centuries from now? What new problems will engage the political theorists (or their rough equivalents) of the future? What forms might those take? What follows is one of the many confabulations published in response to these queries. (shrink)
This essay critically analyzes two dominant narratives that explain and lament the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. First, I extend Jill Locke’s (2016) concept of “The Lament that Shame is Dead" to show the limitations of criticizing Trump in terms of the “death of shame.” I then turn my attention to the problems inerent in recent characterizations of Trump as a petulant child. Drawing from Locke (2016) on shame and Freud (1914) and Lee Edelman (2004) on the (...) politics of “the child,” I argue that characterizing Trump as shameless, childish, or as a shameless child only affirms, rather than deposes, Trump’s right-wing populist strategy and keeps the focus on him as a personality rather than on the broader social and political context in which he emerged. I argue this has implications for the rise of right-wing populism in the West, more broadly. (shrink)
This book moves beyond traditional readings of Alexis de Tocqueville and his relevance to contemporary democracy by emphasizing the relationship of his life and work to modern feminist thought. Within the resurgence of political interest in Tocqueville during the past two decades, especially in the United States, there has been significant scholarly attention to the place of gender, race, and colonialism in his work. This is the first edited volume to gather together a range of this creative scholarship. It reveals (...) a tidal shift in the reception history of Tocqueville as a result of his serious engagement by feminist, gender, postcolonial, and critical race theorists. The volume highlights the expressly normative nature of Tocqueville’s project, thus providing an overdue counterweight to the conventional understanding of Tocquevillean America as an actual place in time and history. By reading Tocqueville alongside the writings of early women’s rights activists, ethnologists, critical race theorists, contemporary feminists, neoconservatives, and his French contemporaries, among others, this book produces a variety of Tocquevilles that unsettles the hegemonic view of his work. Seen as a philosophical source and a political authority for modern democracies since the publication of the twin volumes of _Democracy in America _, Tocqueville emerges from this collection as a vital interlocutor for democratic theorists confronting the power relations generated by intersections of gender, sexual, racial, class, ethnic, national, and colonial identities. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Jocelyn Boryczka, Richard Boyd, Christine Carey, Barbara Cruikshank, Laura Janara, Matthew Holbreich, Kathleen S. Sullivan, Alvin B. Tillery Jr., Lisa Pace Vetter, Dana Villa, Cheryl B. Welch, and Delba Winthrop. (shrink)