The Sovereign Position of the World: Towards a Political Theology of Modernity (after Blumenberg)
Hans Blumenberg’s Legitimacy of the Modern Age makes a powerful case for the autonomy of modernity with regard to the preceding Christian epoch – but it also emphasizes at least one continuity between the two, which can be framed via what Blumenberg casts as their common enemy: Gnosticism. Far from being external or secondary, this opposition to Gnosticism structurally defines both of these epochs as their task. What is, however, at stake in this common task? Reading with and against Blumenberg – and following his own account of the epochal shift to modernity – we will shed light, first, on the genealogy and, secondly, the political theology of Blumenbergian modernity, its structure of sovereignty, and key related concepts, such as the world, position, possibility, legitimation, theodicy, immanence, and self-assertion.
This article explores how actor-network theory has redescribed the concept of modernity. B. Latour provides a radical critique of modern rationality by undermining its basic opposition between nature and culture. What he offers instead is relational approach to techno-science. From this point of view, all the actors are initially hybrid entities, and the ontological regime of modernity emerged as an unsuccessful attempt to purify and to divide them into clearly defined 'subjects' and 'objects'. The main paradox of modern rationality is that while it was trying to produce an illusion of two different realms (nature and culture), the number of hybrids was increasing dramatically. To tackle this problem, Latour offered a quite utopian alternative - the Parliament of Things. In the end of the article, it is stated that there is a danger for ANT of being modernist itself. And it is rejection of reductionism that distinguishes actor-network analysis from the other theories of modernity.
In the article, the author analyses the conception of people as a political body (corpus politicum) described in the text of the “Siete Partidas” of Alphonse X the Wise, king of Castile and Leon (1252–1284). In the frame of this theory, the people are considered as a whole body and the king as its soul, heart and head. The multitude can become the people only being united by the love to the king. The author criticizes the hypothesis according to which the principal sources of Alphonse's political theory were the works of St.Thomas Aquinas and John of Salisbury and proposed the other version. According to his version, such sources were, first of all, the texts of the tradition of political Augustinism, i.e., the “De civitate Dei” of St.Augustine and the “Sententiarum Libri tres” of Isidor of Seville.
This is a contribution to the French-Russian Conference on Joseph de Maistre. Joseph de Maistre was a famous theorist and proponent of counter-revolution. He criticized the theory of the popular sovereignty of Rousseau and elaborated his own theory of the royal sovereignty. However, he was no advocate of the so-called decisionism, as Carl Schmitt depicted him in his writings on political theology.
The article discusses the conceptions of the Russians that are held by the contemporary Chinese. The research draws on popular literature on Russia, published in China during the last ten years, as well as on Chinese Internet materials and the author's own fieldwork. It is peculiar, the author notes, that in the sources studied, there are scarce mentions of the attributes that are common for both the Chinese and the Russians; whereas what is typically underlined is the controversial nature of the Russians, which is conceived as a negative feature or even a hindrance to mutual understanding. Relationships between the spouses or between different generations within a Russian family, as the contemporary Chinese see them, appear rather far from their own ideal. At the same time, the upbringing of children in Russia is assessed fairly positively, while the image of the Russian woman has much appeal among the residents of contemporary China.
The purpose of the Mythologies of Capitalism and the End of the Soviet Project is to show that in order to understand popular disillusionment with democratization, liberalization, and other transformations associated with the attempts of non-Western societies to appropriate the ideas of Western modernity, one must consider how these ideas are mythologized in the course of such appropriations. Olga Baysha argues that the seeds of post-revolutionary frustration should be sought in pre-revolutionary discourses on democracy, liberalism, and other concepts of Western modernity that are produced outside local contexts and introduced through the channels of global communication and interpretations of politicians, activists, and experts
The article is devoted to the discussion on fin de siècle in the context of the trajectory the modernity took in the twentieth century Russia. The author follows C. Castoriadis’ definition of modernity through double imaginary of autonomy and rational mastery as well as P. Wagner’s characterisation of modernity as experience and interpretation. He demonstrates how in Russian constellation of modernity autonomy came to be understood as a secondary to rational mastery and how collective autonomy started to dominate over individual one. For this purpose, he discusses details of N. Federov’s “Philosophy of the Common Task” as well as peculiarities of the development of Russian society of the beginning of the last century. Then M. Khomyakov turns to the contemporary fin de siècle and discusses what he sees as a major crisis of modernity in general and democracy, in particular. Thus, the article interprets fin de siècles as inherent to the modernity crises, the main elements of which are revising, reinterpretation, reformulation and renegotiation of the modernity’s fundamentals.