Chapter

<i>Theorising New Beginnings:</i> On Revolution

Steve Buckler

in Hannah Arendt and Political Theory

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748639021
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652853 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639021.003.0006
Theorising New Beginnings: On Revolution

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The approach that Arendt takes to the study of revolution is historical and comparative; but is hardly conventional. The historical dimension to On Revolution is mediated by a concern with the novel experience of the present. Rather than providing historical explanations, Arendt's account aims to extract from revolutionary experience a sense of the authentic enactment of freedom. This equally introduces a corresponding epistemological mediation: the analysis of revolutions provides reference points for reflection and dialogue concerning the question of beginnings. Arendt approaches her principal reference points, the French Revolution of 1789 and the American Revolution of 1776, not in terms of comprehensive historical accounts but as unfolding dramas, capturing their most illuminating elements. In turn, the political resonance of these key elements are conveyed, appropriately, in speech; in the words of the ‘men of the revolution’.

Keywords: revolution; Hannah Arendt; revolutionary experience; freedom; epistemological mediation; French Revolution; American Revolution

Chapter.  9142 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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