Suffering, Politics, Power: A Genealogy in Modern Political Theory

Suffering, Politics, Power: A Genealogy in Modern Political Theory

by Cynthia Halpern
Pub. Date:
State University of New York Press


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Suffering, Politics, Power: A Genealogy in Modern Political Theory

Suffering and politics in the thought of Luther, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Nietzsche.

Suffering, Politics, Power argues that human suffering on a global scale constitutes the most urgent and least understood question of contemporary politics and political theory. In the modern age, the experience of suffering is primarily a political problem, constructed out of crucial, conflicting perspectives. The book draws on a genealogy of suffering through the conflicting perspectives of four major political theorists: Martin Luther, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Although supplying contradictory accounts of the nature of suffering and human response to it, these theorists, when examined together, provide a historical foundation for the political structures of our time and a trajectory for the problematic of suffering which defies all limits. This book works to foster a contemporary political response to suffering, addressing the techniques of its production and representation and the dilemmas of ascertaining causes and responsibilities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791451045
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 01/28/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 334
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Cynthia Halpern is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College.

Table of Contents


1. Suffering in the Context of Religion

2. A Science of Suffering Bodies

3. For the Lack of Moral Knowledge

4. The State of Nature as an Ever-Present Origin

5. Coercion in the Social Contract

6. The Death of God—Theodicy and the Enlightenment

7. Suffering: From Nature to History

8. Social Justice and the General Will: In and Out of Time

9. Nietzsche: Suffering and Tragedy

10. On the Genealogy of Morals

11. The Will to Power and the Will to Nothingness

12. The Eternal Recurrence of the Same


Selected Bibliography


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