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eBook Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Myth and Poetics) ePub

eBook Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Myth and Poetics) ePub

by Professor Bonnie Honig

  • ISBN: 0801427959
  • Category: Politics and Government
  • Subcategory: Politics
  • Author: Professor Bonnie Honig
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (September 5, 2000)
  • Pages: 288
  • ePub book: 1589 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1490 kb
  • Other: txt lrf doc lit
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 817


In this book, Bonnie Honig rethinks that .

03 In this book, Bonnie Honig rethinks that established relation between politics and political theory.

Bonnie Honig is a political and legal theorist specialized in democratic and feminist theory

In this book, Bonnie Honig rethinks that established relation between politics and political theory.

Keywords: Agonism, Bonnie Honig, Cass Sunstein .

In this book, Bonnie Honig rethinks that established relation between politics and political theory.

also the political, whereas the different liberalism critiques insist on the permanence of force, coercion and violence as (and as well as) the political.


Cemav Cemav
Something’s awry in the state of political theory, and it involves - of all things - a strange and pervasive aversion to, well... politics. That is, not the celebration of contest and the political ‘agon’, but its minimisation, bureaucratisation and ‘management’ have now become the name of the game, each working to ‘displace’ politics, forcing it into a no-man’s land of theoretical abyss, unacknowledged and under-cherished. Such, at any rate, is the argument of Bonnie Honig in this classic of political reckoning which, in 2017, has lost nothing of it’s more-than-two-decade-old force of reason and insight. Taking on, as emblematic, the work of John Rawls and Michael Sandel, Honig shows how each ends up closing down and walling off sites of political contestation, appealing instead to particular versions of the 'well-ordered society’ that, far from instantiating a vision of politics, instead disperses and displants it in ways that are, in fact, more ‘anti-political’ than not.

More than just a ‘local’ diagnosis of the contemporary winds however (and even then, not that contemporary anymore!), the lasting takeaway of Honig’s book lies instead in it’s ability to rethink and revitalise our very understanding of what politics 'is’ to begin with. Inspired principally by the work of Hannah Arendt, for whom politics was always crucially distinguished from the ‘administration of things’, it’s precisely this Arendtian insight that is taken up and reworked for the sake of establishing a more robust and ‘open’ politics than has largely been available. Distinguishing, then, between a politics of 'virtue' and a politics of 'virtù' (roughly, a politics of 'closure' and a politics of 'openness' respectively), it's to charting these by turns competing and complimentary approaches to political theory that properly defines the project of this book.

Hence too the engagements with say, Kant, Nietzsche, Derrida and Machiavelli, each of whom are also wielded as weapons in Honig's intellectual arsenal of political refinement. While scholarly in its approach and academic in its orientation, it's ultimately Honig's vision of what politics can be - its dangers and its promises, its contingencies and its necessities - that provides the driving force of this wonderful book. If anything, Honig somewhat underplays the very radically that lies at the heart of her tract, keeping her eye almost a little too closely on the subjects of her readings, relaxing rather than intensifying the political energies she otherwise works so hard to circumscribe. Harnessed by a perspicuous reader however, one can still think of the many fires yet to burn among the kindling that remains political theory today.
Ventelone Ventelone
As the 1997-8 academic year starts, Bonnie Honig is no longer at Harvard. She is now a tenured professor of political theory at Northwestern University. This is the sad end of a story that made national headlines in the spring of 1997: Despite being recommended by both her department and an external review board, Harvard's President, Neil Rudenstine, decided not to extend Assosicate Profeesor Bonnie Honig a tenure offer. The reasons are still unclear and will probably remain so. The case is perplexing because of the quality and quantity of Honig's work, and because it is not clear why would President Rudenstine, who is known to be nice, and liberal, overturn the tenure commitees. Honig told the press that she guessed they thought of her as a "girl". Indeed, fifteen Harvard women profeesors, including Honig's colleague Seyla Benhabib, wrote Prof. Rudenstine and brought up the gender issue. It is probably not the case the Honig was denied tenure because she is (biologicaly) a woman. But how about the fact that she is considered a feminist? That her work is considered non-traditional. That according to some of Harvard's old guard, women cannot produce good political philosophy? (Believe me, I've heard it from some of them when I was there, in open classroom). Well, Honig is of to Northwestern, and Harvard students will have from now on to settle on reading her work.
"Political Theory and the Displacments of Politics" is indeed where they, and others interested in her work, should start. When I read this book, in a rather late stage of working on my dissertation at Harvard, I was totally overwhelmed. So much of political theory recently was about critiquing Rawlsian liberalism. But so much of it was, in my opinion, leading into a cul-de-sac, esp. liberalism's big contender in the 1980's: communitarian political theory. But here was, finally, the best critique of Rawls I have ever read. Why, I wondered, is everyone discussing Sandel's communitarian critique, when Honig's work is so much more interesting. Moreover, Honig also offers an excellent critique of Sandel himself, and shows that liberalism and communitarian theory actually have much in common.
In a nutshell, Honig's argument is against the versions of political theory which try to displace conflicts. She contrasts them to theories that see politics as a disruptive practice that resists the consolidations and closure of juridical setllement for the sake of the perpetuity of political contest. She advocates bringing back "politics" into political theory. Politics, she says, consists of settlement *and* unsettlement, of disruption *and* administration. "To accept and embrace the perpetuity of contests", she says, "is to reject the dream of displacement, the fantasy that the right laws or constitution might some day free us from the responsiblity for (and, indeed, the burden of ) politics".
Although Honig's work is not yet as canonized as that of some other contemporary political theory, I think that any student or scholar of this area will be missing out a lot if s/he didn't read Honig's book. As for Harvard's decision: if I can pull my act together maybe I'll write an alumni letter of protest to the President. But I think that at this stage I can do Honig a more important service by encouraging you to read this important and even fascinating book.