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Are we all responsible? Hannah Arendt and responsibility in times of democratic crisis

Grant number: 20/04154-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Theory
Principal researcher:Raphael Cezar da Silva Neves
Grantee:Débora Cruz Silva
Home Institution: Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Osasco. Osasco , SP, Brazil


The project aims to understand who is responsible for the collapse of democracy by analyzing the concept of political responsibility formulated by Hannah Arendt in her work. In her analysis of Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, Arendt begins to articulate two distinct concepts: guilt and responsibility. The first relates to individual actions, so it cannot be applied to the collective. The second, in turn, refers to a political body, being linked to actions carried out on behalf of the political community. Thus, the responsibility is political and falls on the members of the political body, while the guilt belongs only to those who directly committed crimes. The importance of the distinction is marked by the Eichmann trial and the public opinion at the time, which questioned who was to blame and responsible for the Holocaust. In another context, responsibility takes on a new importance: that of understanding the responsibility of members of the political community in attacks on democratic institutions and culture.

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