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Politik som det unikt mänskliga: En kritik av Hanna Arendts politiska teori
Örebro University, Department of Social and Political Sciences.
2008 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this essay is to question Hannah Arendts distinction between labor, work and action. These are activities belonging to what Arendt names vita activa. These distinctions have been criticized because her understanding of political action has been seen to exclude socio-economic matters. The critique formulated in this essay concerns the fact that these distinctions can be seen to be absolute and unnecessarily so. The reason for this critique is not that certain questions are excluded from political action. Political action is separate not only from other human activities within vita activa. Political action is also something uniquely human for Arendt, something which separates us from animals and absolutely so. Through a critique of her understanding of the character of this border, this essay criticizes the distinctions made within vita activa. The border between what is seen as uniquely human and what is not is for Arendt captured by the notion of “world”. Only with political action, humans have access to the world or meaningfulness where a unique self is displayed through the use of language. Animals are “worldless” and the distinction is thereby absolute. The critique directed at this conception is that this demarcation can be seen to be arbitrary. The wish to make this kind of distinction can be seen as resulting from a certain understanding of what animality stands for, namely that all that meaningfully can be said about animals is captured by science. When we reconsider what humans and animals have in common it is possible to reinterpret what it means to say that politics is uniquely human. Not even the most distinctive human behaviour, language, through which a self is displayed, can be used to defend the idea of an absolute separation. The conception of behaviour through the use of language, articulated by Ludwig Wittgenstein, allows for an understanding of human and animal behaviour which cannot be reduced to the naturalism Arendt starts from or be used to characterize a distinct border between man and beast. The border between political action, the uniquely human trait, and animals is on this conception rather seen as a smooth transition. Some animal and human behaviour overlap. Through this conception this essay criticizes the demarcation within vita activa. Humans as laborers names for Arendt what is common for humans and animals. Political action as something uniquely human can be reinterpreted, as well as the character of the distinctions within vita activa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , p. 37
Keyword [sv]
Hanna Arendt, politik, politisk teori
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2142ISRN: ORU-SAM/STK-C--08/0047--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-2142DiVA, id: diva2:135930
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2008-05-21 Created: 2008-05-21 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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Citation style
  • apa
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