the German bourgeoisie denied their specific interests and idealised progress

The german bourgeoisie denied their specific

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the German bourgeoisie denied their specific interests and idealised progress in the otherworldly terms of abstract philosophy, recoiling from the consequences of their liberal aspirations in practice. (Chandler, 2007, p. 717) Today we are witnessing a renewed interest in ethics (Laı¨di, 1998; Badiou, 2002). Fragmented, many radicals retreat into abstract ethical slogans like ‘another world is possible’, ‘global human rights’, or ‘making poverty history’. As discussed above, we are also of course seeing the return of Kant’s cosmopolitanism. While I think we should not attack the ethical turn for its values, as many of these around environmental issues and human rights are admirable , it is equally important to say that the turn to ethics seems to reflect a certain lack of willingness to seize power and be held accountable to it. For the flight to ethics, as it often plays out in radical politics today, seems to be accompanied by scepticism toward representational politics. Continuing with this theme for a moment, Slavoj Zizek (2008) also sheds some more light upon why ethics (when compared to representational politics) has become so important to the Left in recent years. He says that many of us (he is of course writing for the Left) feel that we are unable to make a real difference through representational politics on a larger scale, when it comes to the big political problems of life. Zizek (2008, p. 453) talks of this feeling that ‘we cannot ever predict the consequences of our acts’; that nothing we do will ‘guarantee that the overall outcome of our interactions will be satisfactory’. And he is right to make this point. Today, our geographical imaginations are dominated by a broader sense of chaos and Global Complexity (Urry, 2003; Stengers, 2005). These ways of thinking, deep in the psyche of many radicals on the Left may be one other reason why so many have retreated into ethics. When we do not really believe that we can change the world through developing fine detailed instruments, capturing the state, or predictive models, we are naturally more hesitant. It is better to try and raise ethical awareness instead. Whereas in the past power was something to be won and treasured, something radicals could use to implement a collective ideology, today, with the risk posed by representation in fragmented societies, top-down power often becomes a hazard, even an embarrassment, for many on the Left (Laı¨di, 1998). This is, as I have already discussed, where the Right and neo-liberal ideologues are seizing the opportunity of the moment. Putting what I have just said another way, there is a need to be clear, perhaps more so in these interdisciplinary times—ethics and politics (particularly representational politics) are different . Of course they are related. You cannot do politics without an ethical perspective.
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