Chapter

Activist Political Theory and Avant-Garde Agency

Lea Ypi

in Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593873
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731426 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593873.003.0003
Activist Political Theory and Avant-Garde Agency

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This chapter explores two key components of activist political theory: the dialectical method and the concept of the avant-garde. Combining features from both ideal and nonideal approaches, and defined as a method based on learning from the trials, errors, and successes of the past, dialectic assists theorists in identifying normative interpretations that aim to offer both a fundamentally appropriate analysis of conflict and to promote political transformation. The chapter introduces the idea of avant-garde political agency in the context of illustrating a process of moral learning informing the dialectical development of normative views. It explains how avant-garde political agents contribute to conceptual innovation by rendering normative views politically effective and motivationally sustainable, and by preparing the ground for the emergence and development of progressive normative theories.

Keywords: activist political theory; method; dialectic; ideal; nonideal; avant-garde; conceptual innovation; conflict; heuristic potential

Chapter.  15494 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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