By Engin F. Isin
Being Political offers a strong critique of universalistic and orientalist interpretations of the origins of citizenship and a persuasive replacement historical past of the current struggles over citizenship.
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Extra info for Being political: genealogies of citizenship
Being political presupposes the appropriation of at least one form of capital. Various distinct forms of capital were isolated during the genealogical investigations on citizenship as alterity assembled in Being Political. While these cannot be defined without reference to the specific relations through which they were realized, a brief description of each is a useful segue into a discussion of different states in which capital exists. ” It includes or is inscribed in various strategies and technologies that are embedded in the terrain of violence.
For this reason a distinction made by Bourdieu between classification struggles (in which different individuals argue for or against the existence of certain groups in society) and group struggles (in which individuals struggle for recognition and their interests) is an important analytical distinction. While these two types of struggle reinforce and overlap with each other, they cannot be reduced to each other. Failing to distinguish them results in either objectivism or subjectivism. How do we then recognize the presence or absence of social groups and whether they have active or passive properties?
Alienating strategies that constitute aliens and barbarians as enemies, while serving certain purposes as frames of reference and identity, are not necessarily a primary focus of the formation of political and social beings. That is also why it is unproductive to insist, as Mouffe (1998) does, on the usefulness of confronting and coming to terms with the concept of the political articulated by Schmitt (1932a). For the binary friend-enemy dialectic articulated by Schmitt as the foundation of politics is fundamentally flawed and misses the complex character of group formation.
Being political: genealogies of citizenship by Engin F. Isin