Politics in Crisis?

Issue Date October 2012
Volume 23
Issue 4
Page Numbers 150-154
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Politics is dying, politics is dead! This funeral oration is delivered time and again, but what is it that is being mourned? The classless society and the withering away of the state predicted by Marx? The advent of Nietzsche’s “last man,” of a world resembling a herd with no shepherd, where everyone finds it too burdensome to rule or to obey, or to enter into conflict with others? Or is it the arrival, denounced by Hannah Arendt, of a society in which action defined by politics (that is, by public dialogue and by war) has been displaced by production, and then by consumption—in other words, by a purely biological life in which politics is revived only fleetingly in the rare revolutionary moments when citizens meet and talk?

About the Author

Pierre Hassner is director of research emeritus at the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) in Paris and for many years was a lecturer in international relations at the European Center of Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy.

View all work by Pierre Hassner