The world as the "Beyond" in politics

Roodt, Vasti ; Stoker, Wessel (Ed.) ; Van Der Merwe, W. L. (Ed) (2012-06)

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In this essay, I consider transcendence in relation to politics. Following Hannah Arendt, I argue that a necessary condition for politics is a concern with a common world. The world in this sense is the common interest that informs political action, but cannot be reduced to anyone’s particular interest. The world, in this sense, is the “beyond” of politics from which the call goes out for political action, but which can never be fully embodied in any given action or any specific position in the world. This understanding of the world renders a conception of political action as a way of being at home in the world that eschews an exclusive commitment to anyone’s particular place within it. To accept that the world lies beyond our private concerns, while nevertheless making an appeal to us from where we are not, is to accept that politics is predicated on transcendence.

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