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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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Hannah Arendt’s Model of the Autonomy of Politics

Hannah Arendt’s Model of the Autonomy of Politics

Semantic Innovation Through Religious Disclosure

(p.99) 5 Hannah Arendt’s Model of the Autonomy of Politics
The Disclosure of Politics

María Pía Lara

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Hannah Arendt's vision of the task of politics and her views on concept building. It begins by showing that her analysis of the loss of the Western concept of authority in modernity and her ideas about creating an autonomous space for politics provide the internal connection for all her essays on secularization. Second, it focuses on how, in On Revolution, she rescues the Roman concept of authority as foundational and connects it to her model of the American revolution. Third, it shows how she uses the method of political disclosure by taking religious images and mythic figures to open up the space for new kinds of political interactions among political agents. The chapter also contrasts her theory of myths and mythmaking with Blumenberg's. In so doing it presents her views on religion's role in conceptual history by describing her method of thematizing the emergence, transformation, and innovation of concepts. It discusses her ideas about action, power, and freedom as seen through the immanent practices between political actors. It is argued that representation of Jesus' actions take on new semantic meanings because of the sense of political agency that has been ascribed to them. Arendt's model is the first step toward a full disclosure of new categories, which can provide a different perspective on what is at stake when we engage with ideas “thinking without a banister”.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, politics, secularization, authority, political disclosure, myths, Hans Blumenberg, religion, conceptual history

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