Chapter

Reinhabiting Civil Disobedience

Bhrigupati Singh

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823226443.003.0020
Reinhabiting Civil Disobedience

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Can the concept of political theology be retrieved within the wider tradition of “moral perfectionism”, of imagining philosophy as a way of life? This chapter examines this strand of thought, which runs from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to Stanley Cavell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and Mahatma Gandhi. It argues that Gandhi's way of “reinhabiting”, more than simply reformulating or resituating, Thoreau's concept of civil disobedience was based on a positive “relation to desire”, on “a form of attraction”, irreducible to any Kantian sense of obligation, ought, or pure duty, but rather an experimentation with a “further self” that is one with “another world, the eventual, struggling to emerge from the actual”. Gandhi says “anyone who thinks that religion and politics can be kept apart, understands neither religion nor politics”.

Keywords: Mahatma Gandhi; civil disobedience; political theology; moral perfectionism; philosophy; Henry David Thoreau; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Stanley Cavell; religion; politics

Chapter.  9241 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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