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Giuseppe Ballacci

In the literature there are two well-established but opposite readings of Arendt: as an agonistic theorist and as a deliberative one. In between these two positions a smaller number of scholars have argued that in Arendt these two dimensions can to a large extent be reconciled. This paper follows this third path but tries to bring it one step further. In particular, it defends the idea that those scholars who have proposed this third reading of Arendt have fallen short of revealing the degree to which deliberation and agonism are, for her, interwoven. Through an original reading of Arendt’s views on judgment, persuasion, distinction and Eichmann’s banality, the paper clarifies why, for her, agonism and deliberation are not only compatible but actually mutually dependent. In other words, it clarifies why she believes that there can be no deliberation without agonism and no agonism without deliberation.

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Civil Disobedience and Terrorism

Testing the Limits of Deliberative Democracy

Michael Allen

This article explores the boundaries of the commitment of deliberative democrats to communication and persuasion over threats and intimidation through examining the hard cases of civil disobedience and terrorism. The case of civil disobedience is challenging as deliberative democrats typically support this tactic under certain conditions, yet such a move threatens to blur the Habermasian distinction between instrumental and communicative action that informs many accounts of deliberative democracy. However, noting that civil disobedience is deemed acceptable to many deliberative democrats so long as it remains 'relevantly tied to the objective of communicative action', Allen holds that certain kinds of terrorism cannot be ruled out either. Whilst acknowledging that the deliberative democrat cannot really justify taking life as a tactic to induce deliberation, as 'dead people cannot deliberate', Allen notes that this does not rule out terrorism per se, the object of which is not death so much as generating overwhelming fear. Further, while a permanent condition of fear would set limits on deliberation, limited and temporary physical harm to persons need not. This implies that deliberative democrats must explain why intentionally causing some physical harm to property or persons is always an illegitimate form of communication.

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Rebecca Posusta

The ability to control where and how any given space will be occupied is a coveted but elusive privilege for the heroines of Jane Austen's novels. Though blessed with an admirable blend of independence of mind, spirit and moral fortitude, they are women for whom the privilege of space is often either an intangible desire or an oppressive reality. In Persuasion, Austen deliberately creates a problem with space. She purposefully contradicts what is expected in public and private behaviour by presenting a heroine who is at first constricted by her place; who begins to expand the number of spaces she is able to occupy; and then, finally, begins to defy her place. This article explores how this use of physical and psychological space in Persuasion evolves and how Austen involves her heroine in the discourse of social change through both narrative description and a new accessibility of psychological landscape.

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Vincent Pons

Elections and political campaigns make for a fascinating research playground. They correspond to Marcel Mauss’s definition of fait social total, a social phenomenon that involves all individuals and reveals something about them all. They take place frequently and nearly everywhere in the world, providing an ideal vantage point for comparing societies across time and space. They are documented with an increasing amount of data, starting with disaggregated electoral results. These features alone would suffice to explain the central importance of elections in the social sciences, from history and political science to economics and psychology. But a recent evolution makes the study of elections and campaigns perhaps even more appealing today: in almost no other fields are the recommendations of social scientists followed so closely and so rapidly. The first milestone in this trend was a study conducted during the November 1998 general elections in New Haven by two Yale political scientists, Alan Gerber and Donald Green, which compared the effects of door-to-door canvassing, phone calls, and mailings.2 This article launched a large experimental literature investigating which campaign techniques could most effectively increase voter turnout or sway undecided voters. Candidates were quick to apply the most recent findings to their own campaigns, even hiring some of their authors as strategy advisers

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The End of Arrogance, the Advent of Persuasion

Public Art in a Multicultural Society

Henri Beunders

In Western societies, the boundaries of the freedom of expression had traditionally been expanding, while the boundaries of religion and 'good morals' had been receding. Since the last decade however, this expansion has slowed down, come to a halt, and ultimately reversed. In Europe, anxiety over the expression of protest through violent means has steadily caused governments to abandon the traditional, seemingly limitless adherence to freedom of expression. Political fear over controversy has come to dominate the climate of commissioning public art. In a polarized world, the debate on what is tolerable has taken on an acute urgency. The art world itself no longer has an answer. After a half-century of autonomy, it has succeeded in demolishing its own authority by ridiculing every aspect of external criticism. The only solution now will be a new form of dialogue with all stakeholders involved.

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Editorial

In Memoriam Rabbi Dr Lionel Blue OBE, 6 February 1930–19 December 2016

Jonathan Magonet

The memoirs and tributes to Lionel Blue z’l in this issue reflect the many dimensions of his life and work, yet a common thread runs through them. All who have written testify to his warmth and generosity of spirit, the support and advice that was always readily available, his openness to people of all kinds and persuasions.

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

It is a privilege and a pleasure to have the opportunity to comment on this issue’s forum, which is yet another challenging and beautifully written piece on cosmopolitanism and anthropology from Nigel Rapport. Taking his concept of cosmopolitan politesse as a departure point, Rapport here discusses the possibilities of cosmopolitanism as something which is not reducible to a specifically Western or European philosophical trajectory or political persuasion, as well as comparing justice with loyalty.

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Moralizing Mobility?

Persuasive Technologies and the Ethics of Mobility

Andreas Spahn

There is a tension in any ethical evaluation of mobility. On the one side mobility is linked to elements of progress, cosmopolitism, autonomy, and freedom. On the other side increasing mobility causes worries with regard to safety and sustainability. This essay analyzes a suggested technical solution to the worries about safety and sustainability: the increasing usage of persuasive technologies to change individual behavior. Can and should we moralize mobility technologies by way of persuasion?

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Religion and Community

Adam Smith on the Virtues of Liberty

Charles L. Griswold

The architects of what one might call ‘classical’ or ‘Enlightenment’ liberalism saw themselves as committed to refuting the claims to political sovereignty by organized religion.2 The arguments against the legitimacy of a state-supported religion, and in the extreme case, of a religious monopoly, are so integral a part of the Enlightenment’s effort to put politics on a stable and just foundation as to constitute one of the controlling themes of the period. Liberal politics requires toleration, or better, liberty of religious belief. And this in turn implies that religious institutions be privatized, as it were, and that just politics be secularized. Legitimate rule is to lie in the consent of the ruled rather than in the laws of God as interpreted by his ministers on earth. Differences in religious outlook are to be settled, as Jefferson tells us, by persuasion, not by force, and persuasion is a private matter. The state has no role to play except (to simplify somewhat) that of preventing the use of force by the parties involved. As Jefferson strikingly puts it: ‘The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg … Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments [against error in religion].’

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Russia’s ‘Other Ummah’

From ‘Ethnic Shi’ism’ to Ideological Movement?

Bruno De Cordier

Since the beginning of the Syrian War, ties between Russia and the Shia sphere are primarily examined in terms of geopolitics, while little attention is being paid to the indigenous as well as immigrant Shia populations in Russia itself. Depending on the motives and circumstances that brought and bring various individuals and groups to more actively-professed Ja’fari Shi’ism, these can become the most active champions of its cause, or of social movements inspired by this persuasion. As such, the Shia element in Russia might become more relevant and present than its low-profile minority state suggests.