Chapter

A Cosmopolitan Avant-Garde

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/9780199593873.003.0008
A Cosmopolitan Avant-Garde

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This chapter examines the concept of avant-garde political agency to clarify the relation between normative innovation and political change. An analysis of the term ‘avant-garde’, and its usage in the context of artistic activity, leads to emphasizing the analogy between artistic and political innovation and to illustrate the ability of avant-gardes to promote innovative interpretations of existent relevant practices. In the context of the global justice debate, this serves to clarify how cosmopolitan agents might creatively intervene to transform the function and purpose of existing institutions compatibly with relevant principles of global justice. Sensitizing local publics to issues of transnational conflict and global inequality, these agents appear crucial for enacting the learning process that leads to challenging old conceptual resources and to replacing them with new and more progressive normative discourses.

Keywords: avant-garde; art; politics; cosmopolitanism; normative innovation; political change; globalization; social movements

Chapter.  8852 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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