How do we listen, see and read while claiming a critical stance? Armen Avanessian starts with this question and reads “political theories (not) reading.” He is concerned with the tensions between political and aesthetic theory, emphasizing the dependence of certain philosophical concepts of politics and the political upon contemplations of the arts. Avanessian shows that a dominance of literary forms as philosophical points of reference has recently shifted in favour of visual arts, and pinpoints differences in the respective location of the political: The aesthetic orientation contributes to the shape of abstract theory. In describing this mutually informative aesthetic-political episteme, Avanessian argues that narrative models circle a more recent realism of reference and extend its influence into theories of the political. The interrogative stance of this text demonstrates an inevitable unsettledness proper to the interrelating opposition of aesthetics and politics, negating any stability of interpretation sometimes claimed by analyses that meander in turn between the arts and the construction of theory.
This volume contrasts a number of recently suggested concepts of the political – each of which connects to certain instances of art and literature in its discourse – with questions concerning the rigidity of those connections: How strongly do such claims to politics depend on their specific examples, what is the scope of their validity to understand art with regard to politics, and how can they help us grasp the political within other pieces of art? In each case, manners of thinking concepts of the political, the mutual resistance of such concepts and their academic treatment, and the turn towards specific readings informed by those concepts converge.
The essays collected in “Thinking Resistances. Current Perspectives on Politics, Community, and Art“ engage with political phenomena in their interrelations with arts as well as with recent theoretical and philosophical perspectives on the very meaning of politics, the political, and community.
With contributions by Armen Avanessian, Friedrich Balke, Judith Butler, Simon Critchley, Anneka Esch-van Kan, Josef Früchtl, Andreas Hetzel, Jon McKenzie, Dieter Mersch, Chantal Mouffe, Maria Muhle, Nikolaus Müller-Schöll, Stephan Packard, Wim Peeters, Jacques Rancière, Juliane Rebentisch, Gabriel Rockhill, Frank Ruda and Philipp Schulte.