From the time she set the intellectual world on fire with her reflections on Eichmann (1963), Hannah Arendt has been seen, essentially, as a literary commentator who had interesting things to say about political and cultural matters. In this critical study, Shiraz Dossa argues that Arendt is a political theorist in the sense in which Aristotle is a theorist, and that the key to her political theory lies in the twin notions of the “public realm” and the “public self”.
In this work, the author explains how Arendt’s unconventional and controversial views make sense on the terrain of her political theory. He shows that her judgement on thinkers, actors, and events as diverse as Plato, Marx, Machiavelli, Freud, Conrad, Hobbes, Hitler, the Holocaust, the French Revolution, and European colonialism flow directly from her political theory.
Tracing the origins of this theory to Homer and Periclean Athens, Dossa underlines Arendt’s unique contribution to reinventing the idea and the ideal of citizenship, reminding us that the public realm is the locus of friendship, community, identity, and in a certain sense, humanity. Arendt believes that no one who prefets his or her private interest to public affairs in the old sense can claim to be fully human or truly excellent.
|Publisher:||Wilfrid Laurier University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.26(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.52(d)|
About the Author
Shiraz Dossa teaches political theory and political development at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. He is the author of a number of essays and reviews which have been published in the Review of Politics , Philosophy and Social Criticism , Canadian Journal of Political Science , Alternatives , Arab Studies Quarterly , and MERIP.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents for
The Public Realm and the Public Self: The Political Theory of Hannah Arend by Shiraz Dossa
Hannah Arendt as a Political Theorist
Literary Political Theory
Method and Imagination
Tradition and the Past
Politics and Political Theory
Vita Activa : Nature and Politics
The Human Condition
The Public and the Private
Necessity and Violence
The Public Realm
Freedom and Action
The Public Self
Public Space and Human Status
Morality and Politics
Appendix: The Life of the Mind
Selected writings on Arendt
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an excellent explication of some of the major themes in Arendt's political philosophy, which Dossa insists on calling a theory. Of fundamental concern to Arendt is the public realm, which is the arena of heroic, glorious speech and action. Dossa does a great job unpacking the nuance and complexity of her arguments and does not shy away from some of the more troubling aspects of her thought, including the scant attention to she pays to socio-economic factors and race. But he also is a sympathetic writer who obviously finds much of what Arendt had to say insightful and essential for contemporary debates. Especially interesting to me are his remarks on the content of the public realm, which remains vague and somehow placeless in Arendt's writing despite her insistence on the importance of permanent settings for the practice of the vita activa. I only wish Dossa had included a more comprehensive treatment of other writers who have engaged and critiqued her thought. Some references are sprinkled through the rather sparse endnotes (most of which refer to Arendt's works themselves) but a more unified treatment would have been helpful. Yet this remains indispensable as a thoughtful and engaging discussion of her work.