The Permanence of the Theologico-political?

Claude Lefort

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI:
The Permanence of the Theologico-political?

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This chapter explores the separation between politics and religion and the permanence of the theologico-political. It claims that the religious survives in the guise of new beliefs and new representations, and that such beliefs can at any moment return to the surface, in either traditional or novel forms, when conflicts become so acute as to produce cracks in the edifice of the state. It further suggests that the “modern” notion of politics has become an index of our ignorance or disavowal of a hidden part of social life, namely, the processes that make people consent to a given regime—or, to put it more forcefully, that determine their manner of being in society. Certain beliefs, attitudes, and representations reveal a religious sensibility. In characterizing the “theologico-political labyrinth”, its very “schema” stipulates that any move toward immanence is also a move toward transcendence; that any attempt to explain the contours of social relations implies an internalization of unity; that any attempt to define objective, impersonal entities implies a personification of those entities.

Keywords: politics; religion; permanence; theologico-political; beliefs; representations; religious sensibility; transcendence; social relations

Chapter.  22909 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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