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Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Public Realm

Author: WangZhiHua
Tutor: ChenBingHui
School: Xiamen University
Course: Political Theory
Keywords: Hannah Arendt Public realm Action
CLC: D09
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 328
Quote: 1
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Abstract


Hannah Arendt’s theory of public realm is distinctive and extraordinary. According to Arendt, public realm is the product of interaction among people and a public, ethical and spatial existence. It develops as an action starts and vanishes as an action ends. At the same time, the interacting power spreads the time free actions and speeches of majority people begin. Through equal and competitive exchanges among majority people common sense is developed and man’s excellence is exhibited. In this way, man gains meaningful existence. Such a process is also the process in which the public realm spreads. However, the public realm has vanished because in the modern times the labor rules the whole. As a result, technology, reason and enjoyment overwhelm every aspect of man, which means man is ruled by inevitability and loses the capacity of free action. In order to save modern society, renew man’s dignity and rebuild public realm, Arendt developed her theory of revolution which is an attempt to explore a way to break the modern slavish system and build a free system instead which will be a federal commonwealth based on free senate system. In a word, Arendt is pessimistic about modern society; therefore, she went back to ancient Greece to relive classic republicanism to find out a way for modern people. As a result, Arendt emphasizes political participant and endows politics with a high status that is regarded as the source of man’s meaningful existence. Arendt’s theory of public realm tries to apply the classic republicanism to modern times to cure the modern crisis. It plays a positive role in the field of academy. However, this theory also has its limitations. For example, she segregates the politics from the society, which makes politics rootless. Her public realm is phenomenological existence that lacks stability and has strong metaphysical color. Her device of system consequently leads to the Elitism. Politics degenerates as an interest and enjoyment. Such a public realm is only a world of minority people.

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CLC: > Political, legal > Political Theory > History of Political Science,History of Political Thought
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