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Title: Putting politics in its place : philosophies and practices of presence in the works of Gustav Landauer, Eric Voegelin, Simone Weil and Václav Havel
Author: Hoppen, Franziska
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 1294
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis presents an alternative perspective to the "discourse of crisis" that currently pervades political debate. "Post-truth politics", "post-politics" and "anti-politics" - these are only a few of the new concepts that have recently emerged to describe what is perceived as a deviation from politics proper. At the core of this crisis appears to be the phenomenon of externalisation, where self-realisation is outsourced to external markers of identification, such as race or nation. Traditional political concepts no longer seem sufficient to grasp such externalisation - hence the discourse calls for new, original ways of thinking and doing politics. This thesis discusses the limits of the discourse of crisis and introduces the philosophy of presence, traditionally excluded from the canon of modern political thought. It is concerned with the question of politics only as a derivative. Unlike contemporary mainstream and critical political thought, this philosophy argues that externalisation is not a deviation from politics, but its very essence. Its core argument is that another order, prior to and beyond the political, is already present in the world and can be experienced by human faculties, so that, instead of ordering the world politically, the task is to "become present" to the world spiritually. Hence, the philosophy of presence puts politics in its place - secondary to experience. I present this philosophy by exploring four thinkers in depth and by focusing on what I refer to as "practices of presence": means by which presence can be cultivated and made habitual. Thereby, I seek to show that the philosophy of presence does not promote withdrawal but may lead to another type of community and sociality - one that is not political. The thinkers discussed will be Gustav Landauer and his practice of Absonderung, Eric Voegelin and his practice of Anamnesis, Simone Weil and her practice of Malheur and Václav Havel and his practice of Neklid.
Supervisor: Rossbach, Stefan ; MacKenzie, Iain Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available