Politics in dark times: reflections on Hannah Arendt
DOI: 10.1080/02589346.2013.798460
Title: Politics in dark times: reflections on Hannah Arendt
Journal Title: Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies
Volume: Volume 40
Issue: Issue 2
Publication Date: August 2013
Start Page: 277
End Page: 297
Published online: 22 Jul 2013
ISSN: 0258-9346
Author: Shane Moran*
Abstract: Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) analysed liberal democracy, Marxism, the nation-state, and the legal and political impediments to the realisation of human rights. This article considers the reasons for the resurgence of interest in Arendt's work as a resource for understanding globalisation, international conflict, and the plight of refugees. It shows that elements of her analysis of the origins of totalitarianism resonate with current concerns, but more importantly the limitations of her analysis, particularly of racial segregation in the USA, have a direct bearing on the distinction between social equality and political equality. In South Africa confronting entrenched social inequality alongside the constitutional proclamation of political equality Arendt's work has added relevance. This article explores these concerns by way of criticism of Arendt that enlists analysis of the Haitian Revolution. It seeks to identify aspects of Arendt's texts from which lessons can be learnt.

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