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The limits and possibilities of political action in mass society

Grant number: 18/00645-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2018
Effective date (End): August 03, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Yara Adario Frateschi
Grantee:Nathalia Rodrigues da Costa
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/15067-0 - Hannah Arendt's interpretation of civil disobedience and the expansion of democracy, BE.EP.DR


The main goal of this doctorate's project is to investigate the limits and possibilities of political action in mass society. The question that guides this project is: are there spaces for effective democratic political action in mass society based on political representation and on party sistem, or does this society give to citizens, at most, the possibility of resistance against the trend of public space closure? Or yet: does the resistance through the civil desobedience only have a negative feature or does it open space, some how, for the exercise of freedom while participation? The question becomes important in "democratics" societies because, althoug they can not be considered completely antipolitic, they reduce significantly the possibility of the exercise of political freedom that, for Arendt, implies active participation of citizens in government affairs and in decision-making bodies of public sphere. A significant part of the critical reading undestands that, for Arendt, the mass society in any context obstructs completely the action and the political freedom. We will try to show in this work that this interpretation is mistaken because it disregards that Arendt operates with one distinction between the totalitarian mass society and the post-war mass society in representative democracies based on participative system. Although this last has an antipolitical trend, it is not completely antipolitical and, therefore, it does not obstruct the possibility of the action and of the political freedom, which distinguishes it signifcantly from the totalitarian mass society, undeniable antipolitical. We raise up the hypothesis that the movements of civil desobedience, for having the form of voluntary associations, can withdraw the individuals of isolation and arise the action in concert trough the exercise of the dialogue and,then, they open the possibility of the positive exercise of freedom in "democratic" societies.To sustain our hypothesis we will deal with Arendt's analysis of the civil disobedience event in the 1960s and 1970s, with particular attention to the student movement and the civil rights movement. Thus, as these movements deal with the concrete experiences of political action, the central works of this project are on Revolution (1963) and Crises of the Republic (1969). (AU)

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