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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Professor John Lucaites: Democracy for Dummies - The Commodification of Idiocy and the Problem of Judgment (in Late Modernity)

9th October 2008, 17:15 to 18:15, Seminar Room, Department of Anthropology

This is the first lecture in the Rhetoric of Personhood Seminar Series.

The project explores the ways in which classical conceptions of "idiocy" have been subverted by the process of commodification as manifest in the form of "dummies" and "idiots" guides for things like "citizenship" and "democracy."

The central problem is a reduction of the problem of judgment to questions of techne (contra a concern for phronesis) and the confounding of the relationship between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa. The question is what is at stake when we take the form of a technical manual to animate civic action. The answer asks us to (re)consider the fine line between democracy and fascism.

Contact m.b.carrithers@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

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