The French Revolution profoundly influenced many of the ideas and institutions that created the modern world. This far-reaching revolutionary upheaval drew widely on eighteenth-century Enlightenment culture to construct and spread modern ideas about human rights, republicanism, legal equality, nationalism, and the value of scientific knowledge. At the same time, France’s revolutionary leaders began to create new institutions that France and other modern countries would use to develop large state bureaucracies, mass conscription armies, centralized monetary and taxation systems, nationwide legal codes and police surveillance, carefully orchestrated public rituals, and new plans for public education.
Identities, Economics, Social Exchanges, and Humanitarianism
Anthony Chinaemerem Ajah, S. J. Cooper-Knock, Josette Daemen, Douglas L. Berger, and Hayden Weaver
Uchenna Okeja, Deliberative Agency: A Study in Modern African Political Philosophy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2022, 214 pp.
Gideon van Riet, Hegemony, Security Infrastructures and the Politics of Crime: Everyday Experiences in South Africa. London: Routledge, 2021, 224 pp.
Richard Grusin (ed), Insecurity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2022, 272 pp.
Tao Jiang, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, xiii–xvi+556 pp.
Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind. London: Verso, 2020, 209 pp.
Following the footsteps of scholars who have made contributions to the debate about the question of method and analysis in Fanon’s work, this article explores the implications of his concerns with the link between madness and struggle on our understanding of the transformative role of radical political strategies in the colonial context and the contemporary world. The main argument it pursues is that Fanon regarded madness and revolutionary violence in the colonial context as effects of colonial alienation. Most importantly, this argument sets the article apart from the works which focus on how Fanon’s proto-structuralist analysis of the process of madness and the question of cure reveals his concerns with the conditions for the possibility of a politico-philosophical paradigm or a universal morality in postcolonial time or national liberation time.
Historical Time and Revolutionary Change in Marx, Gramsci, Benjamin, and Fanon
Inspired by contemporary criticism(s) levelled against evolutionist conceptions of history present within much classical social theory, this article seeks to discuss alternative conceptions of historical time, modernity, and coloniality within the works of Marxist-inspired thinkers who have sought to tackle the problematic aspects of evolutionism and ‘historical progress’ head on – namely, Antonio Gramsci, Walter Benjamin, and Frantz Fanon. After discussing orthodox Marxism’s ambivalent relation to notions of historical necessity and human agency, the article turns to discussing Gramsci’s anti-economistic conception of hegemony and Benjamin’s and Fanon’s respective conceptions of the ‘dialectics of rupture’ in order to present alternative conceptions of historical time which partly or fully depart from orthodox Marxism’s tendencies towards evolutionism, albeit whilst retaining a focus on dialectics, power struggle, and revolutionary transformation.
How the Institute of Race Relations Strategically Misinforms Us about Racism and Policy (as a Threat to Deliberative Democracy)
Phila M. Msimang
Historically, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has been viewed as a reliable source of information given its near century-long work of compiling statistics and reports about race relations and the social conditions affecting different race groups in South Africa. I make the case that the IRR should not be considered a reliable source of information about race groups and their social conditions in contemporary South Africa because of how the IRR misrepresents the views of ordinary South Africans with the intention of influencing policy towards the IRR’s preferred ideological positions. Rather than presenting criticism of their ideological slant, I show how their policy proposals are not supported by their survey data or their interpretation. Furthermore, I argue that their misrepresentation of South Africans’ beliefs is damaging to democratic processes because what the public claims it wants from government has a significant impact on what government’s mandate from its citizenry is thought to be.
The Case of Feminist Philosophy
Hilkje C. Hänel and Johanna M. Müller
This article argues that non-ideal theory is distinctive in its use of a certain methodology which is prior to specific topics (such as injustice, oppression, etc.), grounded in the idea of socially situated knowledge, and able to address ideological situatedness. Drawing on standpoint epistemology, we show that one’s social position within given power structures has implications for knowledge acquisition and that being in a vulnerable or marginalised position can be advantageous to knowledge acquisition. Following ideology critique, we argue that both marginalised and powerful social positions are embedded within a given ideology. As ideology is more than a mere set of attitudes or beliefs that social agents endorse or resist, situated agents and theorists cannot develop normative criteria that are not themselves situated. Hence, non-ideal theory has to be equipped with methods that are likely to make this situatedness visible. We close by presenting some diverse methods that already do so.
Why Neo-republicanism Disregards Natural Rights
David Guerrero and Julio Martínez-Cava Aguilar
The first contribution of this article is a politico-philosophical map that, drawing upon two common sets of arguments against modern natural rights, might help to explain the prevailing neo-republican position on natural rights. Under the label ‘abstraction argument’, we explore the view that natural rights are a metaphysical construct that usually ends in a violent application of speculative principles to society. Under ‘self-interest argument’, we discuss the notion that natural rights endorse an atomistic and selfish conception of the human being. Second, we show how Cold War authors replicated these two arguments, conveying a biased, largely anti-republican and anti-democratic view of natural rights to the twentieth century. Third, drawing on these two arguments, we critically assess the narrow view of natural rights inherited by neo-republican scholars.
Feminist Dialogues and Republican Debates on Democracy
Ailynn Torres Santana
This article starts from the analytical disconnection between feminisms and republicanism and investigates the potential of an academic and political conversation between them. The text takes up some of the intersections between feminism and republicanism over the past few decades and draws attention to the greater interest that has been verified recently. Furthermore, the article proposes spaces where potential conversation between feminism and republicanism can take place: examining the relationship between material dispossession, dependence, and freedom; across the public, private, and domestic spheres; and the implications of extending autonomy to consider bodily autonomy. It ends with a brief reference to political participation as a feminist and republican virtue. Finally, the article stresses the need to produce a republican feminist revival.
Antonio Gramsci, the European Council Movements and the ‘Second Republican Revival’
Andreas Møller Mulvad and Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen
This article engages with socialist republicanism, which is preoccupied with extending freedom as non-domination, central to the neo-republican revival, from the political sphere of formal democracy to the economic sphere of capitalist production. Firstly, we discuss the transition from neo-republicanism to socialist republicanism. Secondly, we reconstruct the socialist republicanism of Antonio Gramsci, who was involved in the council movements in Turin in 1919–20. We argue that Gramsci applies the republican vocabulary of servitude to describe the capitalist workplace and analyse the workers’ councils as republican forms, allowing for popular self-determination in the economic sphere. Consequently, we contribute to the ongoing exploration of the historical, political, and conceptual affinities between republicanism and socialism and inscribe Gramsci as a key thinker in this endeavour.
M. Victoria Costa
This article considers why the influential neo-republicans Philip Pettit and Richard Bellamy tend to minimise or deny the role that natural or moral rights play in republican thought. It argues that their specific views about the theoretical role of such rights are motivated by methodological commitments. In Pettit's case the commitments are to consequentialism and formalism, while in Bellamy's it is to proceduralism. But these commitments get in the way of providing a fully adequate account of the value of freedom as non-domination: one that allows us to determine when citizens actually enjoy this kind of freedom. Finally, the article argues that a full explanation of what it means to enjoy freedom as non-domination must unavoidably appeal to normative notions.