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Gillian RoseA Good Enough Justice$
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Kate Schick

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639847

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639847.001.0001

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Between Tragedy and Utopia

Between Tragedy and Utopia

(p.105) Chapter 5 Between Tragedy and Utopia
Gillian Rose

Kate Schick

Edinburgh University Press

Dissatisfaction with the perceived failure of liberal and postmodern responses to trauma and difference has prompted a turn to more radical alternatives: political realism and messianic utopianism, which are the focus of this chapter. Political realism (Schmitt, Morgenthau) doggedly accepts the tragic inescapability of self-interest and conflict, promulgating a politics of the possible; messianic utopianism (Benjamin, Derrida, Žižek) supplements the tragedy of the present with an otherworldly hope, promulgating a politics of the impossible. This chapter argues that Rose's speculative philosophy sits between tragedy and utopia. She maintains that there is a danger that the work of the political is bypassed in both categories: both in tragic resignation, which eschews transformation and fosters conservative self-preservation or solipsistic withdrawal; and in utopian hope, which bypasses the present in hubris-filled attempts to ‘mend’ the brokenness of modernity. Instead, a speculative perspective asserts that we stay with the anxiety of living in a broken, fragile world, working through the existential and historical traumas this inevitably entails.

Keywords:   Tragedy, Utopia, Žižek, Derrida, Political realism, Messianism, The political, Schmitt, Morgenthau, Benjamin, Working through

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