Richard Dagger on Arendt - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 173
Arendt/Dagger: [for Pocock a] source of inspiration was the political theorist Hannah Arendt: 'In terms borrowed from or suggested by the language of Hannah Arendt, [The Machiavellian Moment] has told part of the story of the revival in the early modern West of the ancient ideal of homo politicus (the zöon politikon of Aristotle), who affirms his being and his virtue by the medium of political action' (1975(1): 550). >Republicanism/Pocock.
Dagger: It would be unwise to say that a thinker as multi-farious as Arendt was first, last, and above all a republican, but there is certainly a strong streak of republicanism in her writings (Canovan, 1992)(2), esp. ch. 6). This streak is most evident in her recurring concern for what I have called the cornerstones of republicanism - publicity and self-government. To some commentators this concern seems little more than misplaced nostalgia for the ancient polis (e.g. O'Sullivan, 1975(3)). Modernism/Arendt: But Arendt's complaint is not so much that civic life in modern democracies has declined dramatically from some golden age, as that it has failed to realize the promise of republican citizenship.
Technology/Arendt: Technology has eased the burdens of labour and freed us to act as citizens in the public realm, she argued in The Human Condition (1958)(4), yet we forsake public life in favour of private consumption.
Government/Arendt: We want government to provide for the welfare of the citizenry, she declared in On Revolution, but we 'deny the very existence of public happiness and public freedom' as we 'insist that politics is a burden' (1965(5): 273).
1. Pocock, J. G. A. (1975) The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic
Republican Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
2. Caney, Simon (1992) 'Liberalism and communitarianism: a misconceived debate'. Political Studies, 40 (June): 273-89.
3. O'Sullivan, Noel (1975) 'Hannah Arendt: Hellenic nostalgia and industrial society'. In A. de Crespigny and K. Minogue, eds, Contemporary Political Philosophers. New York: Dodd, Mead.
4. Arendt, Hannah (1958) The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
5. Arendt, Hannah (1965) On revolution New York: Viking.
Dagger, Richard 2004. „Communitarianism and Republicanism“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004