By Robert C. Pirro
Public officers, newshounds and traditional voters often use phrases like "tragedy" and "tragic" whilst attempting to make feel of burdensome occasions and painful setbacks. Political theorists and philosophers have lengthy used the instance of Greek tragedy and notions of the tragic to mirror at the nature and importance of democracy in glossy lifestyles. Pirro bargains the way to comprehend the deep connections among those probably disparate and unconnected discourses of tragedy. these connections are to be came across, he argues, within the interdependent dating among tragedy and democracy, which first manifested itself within the democratic polis of historic Athens. The ebook considers how tragedy has been used to advertise democratic activism, foster civic harmony in instances of democratic transition, and shape a feeling of nationwide id. Written in an obtainable demeanour and drawing upon political speeches, journalistic studies, works of well known movie and literature, and educational writings, The Tragedy of Politics unearths the tragic understandings that shape the middle of a few vital modern visions of democracy.
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Extra info for The Politics of Tragedy and Democratic Citizenship
And while it may be that a sense of the German tradition’s concern with tragedy and the tragic aspects of existence was conveyed to Havel by Patočka, the frequent and varied uses of the Czech equivalents of the term, tragedy, word relatives like “tragic,” and coordinate terms like “drama” and “catharsis” to be found in Havel’s writings and speeches suggest other relevant influences. If Havel draws upon notions of tragedy to understand the nature and prospects of political freedom, it is not solely due to his encounter with Patočka’s philosophy.
52 Arendt’s use of the term, tragedy, is consistent with her longheld idea that the defeat of human aspirations to political freedom, if it is made an appropriate object of historical or poetic remembrance, may yet inspire future attempts to be free. ” Similarly, the founding of the embattled Czechoslovak human rights organization, Charter 77, is, for Havel, “a phenomenon which—no matter how the Charter turned out—would be impossible to wipe out as a national memory. ”54 (138) Passages in which Havel expresses his sense of the lasting significance of acts of freedom, even those which meet with apparent defeat, in explicitly tragic terms are also not lacking.
16 Havel himself gave ample testimony to the impact that Patočka as writer and teacher of philosopher had upon him. 19 The fact that Havel chose to fill up most of his weekly four page letter writing allotment in the latter stage of his three-year prison stay by seeking to make sense of his life and its challenges in terms of categories central to Patočka’s mode of philosophizing is perhaps the greatest testament of the significance of the Czech philosopher’s influence. If the approach Findlay, Tucker, and others took to discover an underlying coherence in Havel’s writings was promising, it was not without its limits.
The Politics of Tragedy and Democratic Citizenship by Robert C. Pirro