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The Disclosure of PoliticsStruggles Over the Semantics of Secularization$
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Maria Lara

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162807

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162807.001.0001

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The Semantics of Conceptual Change

The Semantics of Conceptual Change

The Emergence of the Concept of Emancipation

Chapter:
(p.29) 1 The Semantics of Conceptual Change
Source:
The Disclosure of Politics
Author(s):

María Pía Lara

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231162807.003.0001

This chapter focuses on conceptual history and on innovation in political theory. The first section analyzes how, in their genealogical accounts, Hannah Arendt and Reinhart Koselleck connected concepts such as democracy, the state, emancipation, and the notion of critique to the web of a disclosive process of semantic transformations. From the author's particular vantage point as a philosopher (not a historian), her aim is not to engage in the production of a conceptual history, but, rather, to show how conceptual history as a method was used by Arendt and Koselleck to explain the way specific notions of political agency have undergone a change or a transformation. The second part of the chapter shows how Koselleck formulated his theory of conceptual history as a way of explaining his two main categories: the “space of experience” and the “horizon of expectations.” These two realms allow us to situate actors over and against their goals and actions.

Keywords:   conceptual history, innovation, political theory, Hannah Arendt, Reinhart Koselleck, democracy, state, emancipation, semantic transformation

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