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Intimacy and spectacle : liberal theory as political education

Author: Stephen L Esquith
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994.
Series: Contestations.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Intimacy and spectacle are rarely considered central to contemporary liberalism. Yet intimacy and spectacle are precisely what liberal theory teaches citizens, Stephen Esquith suggests in this book, a compelling analysis of liberal theory as a form of political education. His work offers a cogent account of how, in the last century, citizens of liberal societies have come to see themselves as clients intimately  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Esquith, Stephen L. (Stephen Lawrence), 1949-
Intimacy and spectacle.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994
(OCoLC)606281013
Online version:
Esquith, Stephen L. (Stephen Lawrence), 1949-
Intimacy and spectacle.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994
(OCoLC)621479691
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Stephen L Esquith
ISBN: 0801429897 9780801429897
OCLC Number: 30319275
Description: x, 285 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: Terms of the argument --
Liberal theories and their problems --
Liberal theorists and their ideals --
From Hobbesian geometry to Kantian casuistry --John Stuart Mill representing progress --
John Rawls speaking for stability --
Envisioning democratic theory --
Emerson reconsidered.
Series Title: Contestations.
Responsibility: Stephen L. Esquith.

Abstract:

Intimacy and spectacle are rarely considered central to contemporary liberalism. Yet intimacy and spectacle are precisely what liberal theory teaches citizens, Stephen Esquith suggests in this book, a compelling analysis of liberal theory as a form of political education. His work offers a cogent account of how, in the last century, citizens of liberal societies have come to see themselves as clients intimately involved with professionals and as consumers of spectacular images, particularly of political leaders. Focusing on the writings of John Stuart Mill and John Rawls, Esquith shows how modern liberal theory represents politics as the play of spectacular images and the reasonable interchange of domesticated voices - a representation that narrowly restricts the boundaries of public life, excluding those who are unable to enter this political domain of clients, consumers, and professional policymakers. By revealing this weakness, Esquith hopes to move political education in a more democratic direction. He uses Bakhtin's notion of speech genres to develop a critical interpretation of liberal theory's relationship to practice, then draws on Emerson's ideas of power and the public intellectual to reconsider the relationship between democratic theory and political education. A nuanced critique that locates the philosophical methods of liberal theory within dominant social practices, his work marks a significant advance toward a more democratic theory of the education of citizens - and, perhaps, toward a more democratic liberal society.

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