By John Randolph LeBlanc (auth.)
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Extra info for Edward Said on the Prospects of Peace in Palestine and Israel
For Mouffe, the D E M O C R AT IC ASP IRAT IONS, DE MOCRAT IC A MB IGUITIES 37 problem with contemporary conceptions of the political is that it is too easily conflated with ethics. She rejects the “postmodern ethical” approach that “implies the possibility of a plurality without antagonism, of a friend without an enemy, an agonism without antagonism. ”90 Said saw the real-world futility of a politics where we are in need of an enemy, where the political and the ethical are kept distinct, and, I argue, he is seeking to counter these assumptions without abandoning their reality.
51 Cultural life, he argues there, is sustained by the circulation of theories. Worldliness means that it is inescapable that the cultural is bound up in the political and vice versa, so the way a community describes itself to itself and to others is always a function of theory. Claim to a particular bit of land, to use an example not entirely at random, may be grounded in shared blood right or prior occupancy or some other more powerful idea—but the fact remains that the claim is a theoretical construction, that is, a particular reading of a set of real-world circumstances, including oft-conflicting historical accounts, with real-world political and cultural implications.
Said’s embrace of humanist practice takes the form of a critique of humanism and contemporary champions like Harold Bloom. ”81 These tendencies, he noted, had their political analogues in the persistence of the nineteenth-century “notion of a unified, coherent, homogenous national identity” which, while still powerful, Said argued, was on the run in most places and should be passing into history in the face of contemporary conditions. 83 Said makes clear that, like the democratic, he understands that humanism comes with baggage.
Edward Said on the Prospects of Peace in Palestine and Israel by John Randolph LeBlanc (auth.)