Ezrahi, Yaron.

Imagined democracies : necessary political fictions / Yaron Ezrahi, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. - xiv, 325 pages ; 24 cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Machine generated contents note: Part I. Necessary Fictions of the Political and the Reality of Political Fictions: 1. The contest over the rightful domain of the imagination; 2. The revival and contemporary legacy of Giambatista Vico (1668-1744) as a modern theorist of the political imagination; 3. Modes of imagining: elements of a theory of the political imagination; 4. Naturalization and historicization as strategies of the political imagination; Part II. Modern Common Sense and the Rise of Modern Political Imaginaries: 5. The historicity of common sense and the role of scientism in the modern political imagination; 6. Empiricism, induction, and visibility: the moral epistemology of democratic political power; 7. The performing arts and the performance of politics: the dialectics between the transparent and self-concealing imagination; Part III. Modern Imaginaries of Democratic Political Agencies and Causality: 8. Voluntary action, the fear of theatricality, and the materialization of the political; 9. Animated fictions: self (as) fulfilling prophecy and the performative imaginaries of democratic political agencies; 10. Individuals between liberal and illiberal corporations; 11. The impact of culture, the cultivation of the individual interior in literature, painting, and music; Part IV. The Postmodern Turn and the Return of Political Theatricality: 12. Mass media and the refictionalization of agency and reality; 13. The ethics and pragmatics of the democratic political imagination: on choosing the imaginaries we want to live by.

"In our era of mass electronic communications, political realities are produced by believable fictions that echo popular desires. Hence the pressing question facing contemporary democracies is how to privilege the performance of political fictions that promote peace and welfare rather than violence and poverty"-- "This book proposes a revisionist approach to democratic politics. Yaron Ezrahi focuses on the creative unconscious collective imagination that generates ever-changing visions of legitimate power and authority, which compete for enactment and institutionalization in the political arena. If, in the past, political authority was grounded in fictions such as the divine right of kings, the laws of nature, historical determinism, and scientism, today the space of democratic politics is filled with multiple alternative social imaginaries of the desirable political order. Exposure to electronic mass media has made contemporary democratic publics more aware that credible popular fictions have greater impact on shaping our political realities than do rational social choices or moral arguments. The pressing political question in contemporary democracy is, therefore, how to select and enact political fictions that promote peace, not violence, and how to found the political order on checks and balances between alternative political imaginaries of freedom and justice"--


POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory.
Democracy in literature.
Politics in literature.
Political fiction--History and criticism.
Mass media--Political aspects.

JC423 / .E968 2012


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