June 2nd, 2012
Abstract of article that appeared in Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 38, No 4-5, 2012:
There are many recent historical analogies to the events that began in Tunisia and have spread
across the Arab world and beyond. I consider them, and then propose a ‘Machiavellian’ reading,
going back to the Florentine’s observation that humankind is made up of those who want to
rule and those who desire not to be ruled. I then suggest, by means of an allusion to my recent
book, The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and
American Revolutions, that the distinction between politics and anti-politics is crucial for the
analysis of the next stages of these revolutions. Finally, with reference to Hannah Arendt’s
considerations of civil disobedience, I suggest a means of interpreting the possibilities that are
on the horizon.
anti-politics, Arab Spring, Arendt, Machiavelli, Marx, resistance
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