Hans Blumenberg and the Theory of Political Myth
17 March 2018
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House - Malet Street - WC1E 7HU London
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Organization / co-organization:
Co-organized by the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at Queen Mary, University of London, and the Centre for European Philosophy at the University of Antwerp
Workshop at the University of London organized in cooperation with the Centre for European Philosophy
About the workshop
In recent years, the phenomenon of political myth has attracted increasing scholarly attention. In its wake, the concept of political myth has begun to establish itself as a relevant concept of political theory. The increasing interest in political myth seems to be related to the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary politics. Especially in the context of political rhetoric, identity politics and collective action, the theory of political myth has often proved to be a vital source of fresh and illuminating insights.
Since Chiara Bottici’s A Philosophy of Political Myth (2007), the theoretical framework of political myth has been successfully enriched by integrating seminal concepts from Hans Blumenberg’s theory of myth. Under the influence of Bottici’s work, recent theorists of political myth tend to underline, for instance, that one of the most important functions of political myths is to create ‘significance’. But what does it mean to create significance, as a specific dimension of political communication or political action? How do political myths construct collective identities and thereby affect political agency? Are political myths always nefarious and related to propaganda and misinformation, or might they have a legitimate use under some circumstances?
The workshop will focus on the importance of the work of Hans Blumenberg in relation to these questions and will offer close readings and interpretations of two recently published texts from the Blumenberg Nachlass: ‘Präfiguration’ (which deals with political myth and its relation to National Socialism) and ‘Moses der Ägypter’ (which examines the use of political myth in relation to the trial of Adolf Eichmann), and include lectures on Blumenberg’s most fruitful and challenging contributions to developing a more refined theory of political myth.
Speakers: Felix Heidenreich (IEP, Paris/University of Stuttgart), Jean-Claude Monod (ENS, Paris), Herbert De Vriese (University of Antwerp), Willem Styfhals (University of Leuven), Geert Van Eekert (University of Antwerp), Angus Nicholls (Queen Mary, University of London)
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