The Media and the Crisis of Democracy: Rethinking Aesthetic Politics : Theoria Berghahn Journals
Theoria

Theoria

Show More Show Less

Editor-in-Chief: Lawrence Hamilton, University of the Witwatersrand


Volume 63 / 2016, 4 issues per volume (March, June, September, December)

Subjects: Social and Political Theory, Literature, Philosophy, History


CALL FOR PAPERS: 'Turner and his Times'

Buy for immediate access

Show Summary Details

The Media and the Crisis of Democracy: Rethinking Aesthetic Politics

Jaeho Kang

Keywords: AESTHETIC POLITICS; MASS MEDIA; DEMOCRACY; FASCISM; POLITICAL COMMUNICATION; THE SPECTACLE; CRITICAL THEORY; CRITICISM OF IDEOLOGY

Abstract

This essay reassesses the German-Jewish social and cultural critic, Walter Benjamin's famous, yet widely misunderstood thesis of the aestheticisation of politics with reference to the development of the mass media and the crisis of democracy. I argue that his thesis of the aestheticisation of politics represents the focal point of his account of both the crisis of liberal democracy as a deliberative and representative political system and the emergence of fascism as a form of direct political communication between a political power and the public. My examination of Benjamin's analysis of the interplay between fascist politics and the mass media leads to a wider critical consideration of the function of political spectacle in the media age. In so doing, I seek to draw out its theoretical relevance for our critical understanding of the linkage between new media and democracy, be it 'new' or 'old' democracy.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.