Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics by Wendy Brown

By Wendy Brown

Edgework brings jointly seven of Wendy Brown's such a lot provocative fresh essays in political and cultural idea. they vary from explorations of politics post-9/11 to severe reflections at the educational norms governing feminist reports and political concept. Edgework is additionally desirous about the highbrow and political worth of critique itself. It renders modern the traditional jurisprudential which means of critique as krisis, during which a tear within the cloth of justice turns into the get together of a public sifting or thoughtfulness, the improvement of standards for judgment, and the inauguration of political renewal or recovery. each one essay probes a modern problem--the cost of being unpatriotic for dissenting from U.S. international coverage, the erosion of liberal democracy by means of neoliberal political rationality, feminism's lack of a progressive horizon--and seeks to understand the highbrow deadlock the matter indications in addition to the political incitement it will probably harbor.

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It considers this relationship as it emerges both in conservative expressions of national patriotism and in radical dissent from state policy. It asks about the productivity as well as the costs of political idealization, and considers how we might successfully navigate some of its perils as we think about, and practice, democratic citizenship. W 18 ■ CHAPTER TWO These reflections were incited by the widespread call for American national unity in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. For the most part, this call demanded unwavering patriotism, uncritical support for policies formulated by the Bush administration, and solidarity with a national narrative about our goodness and our victimhood.

Crito’s aim is to persuade Socrates to escape prison and flee Athens. Crito knows it is useless to ask Socrates to do this out of his own self-interest, so he appeals to Socrates’ sense of friendship: “people who do not know you 24 ■ CHAPTER TWO and me will believe that I might have saved you if I had been willing to spend money, but that I did not care” (Crito 44c). This concern gives Socrates a final chance to respond to his accusers: he argues that the opinion of the many is unimportant compared to living virtuously, indeed that concern with the opinion of the many is at odds with living honorably (Crito 47–48).

The instantiation of this polemicism and this legalism in the title and substance of the USA Patriot Acts, and in the now unquestionably necessary arguments about those pieces of legislation, is but one example of this diversion. Two caveats before beginning. What follows is not intended as universal formulation of the relationship between citizenship, loyalty, and critique; rather, it explores these relations as they are configured by a time of crisis and by a liberal democratic state response to that crisis.

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