Is it trivial, or perhaps even irresponsible, to explore aesthetic themes at a time when the world is engulfed by war, genocide, terrorism, poverty, climate change and financial turmoil? Why indulge in painting, poetry or music when lives and livelihoods are at stake? Can we really afford to entertain questions of taste while concrete political action is urgently required?
This book offers a passionate but systematically sustained defence of an aesthetic engagement with world politics. It argues that aesthetic sources can offer alternative insight: a type of reflective understanding that emerges not from applying the analytical skills that are central to the social sciences, but from cultivating a more open-ended level of creativity and sensibility about the political. We then might be able to appreciate what we otherwise cannot even see: perspectives or people excluded from prevailing purviews, for instance, or the emotional nature and consequences of political events. Drawing on detailed case studies that range from Stalinist Russia to Cold War Germany and from global terrorism to contemporary Korea, the author compellingly demonstrates how images, sounds and the poetic imagination can help us understand-and perhaps even shape-some of the most difficult political challenges.
About the Author
Table of Contents
1 The Aesthetic Turn in International Political Theory 18
2 Art after 9/11 48
3 The Sublime Nature of Global Politics 67
4 Poetic World Politics 84
5 Poetry after Auschwitz 97
6 Poetic Resistance to Cold War Politics 112
7 Come See the Blood in the Streets 128
8 Poetics and the Politics of Memory 14l
9 The Poetic Search for Identity and Community 152