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The politics of possibility : symbol, strategy and power

[research report]

Johnson, James

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Corporate Editor Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS), Wien
Abstract "In this paper I address, in a preliminary way, a problem of political theory that, while not new, has been brought home with special urgency by recent events. The problem is the predicament created by the imperative of coming to terms with the subject of political possibility and the concomitant difficulty of doing so. The argument of this paper is circuitous. I first argue that grappling with the subject of political possibility requires that we examine the intimate relation of symbol and strategy in politics. I draw a crucial distinction between the ways that the ability to calculate probabilities and to entertain possibilities enters into social and political interaction. I than identify the mechanisms – attention and imagination – at work in the ways symbolic forms govern our ability to envision possibilities. I show how political possibility is implicated with power. And I sketch some of the constraints and vicissitudes that make the politics of possibility a precarious enterprise. I conclude by briefly connecting my preceding analysis to the theme of antipolitics." [author's abstract]
Keywords political theory; symbolic politics; political communication; political culture
Classification Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Political Science
Document language English
Publication Year 1994
City Wien
Page/Pages 21 p.
Series Reihe Politikwissenschaft / Institut für Höhere Studien, Abt. Politikwissenschaft, 15
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications