Politics of Happiness: Connecting the philosophical ideas of Hegel, Nietzsche and Derrida to the Political Ideologies of happiness
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This unique and engaging study argues that the Western concern with achieving happiness should be understood in terms of its relationship to the political ideologies that have emerged since the Enlightenment. To do so, each chapter examines the place that happiness occupies in the construction of ideologies that have formed the political terrain of the West, including liberalism, postmodernism, socialism, fascism, and religion. Throughout, Hegel's phenomenology, Nietzsche's genealogy, and Derrida's account of deconstruction as reactions to modernization are used to show that the politics of happiness are always a clash of fundamental ideas of belonging, overcoming, and ethical responsibility. Stressing that the concept of happiness lies at the foundation of political movements, the book also looks at its place in the current global order, analyzing the emergence of such ideas as affective democracy that challenge the conventional notions of privatized, acquisitive happiness.
Written in a clear manner, the work will appeal to political theory students and researchers looking for a critical and historical account of contemporary debates about the nature of happiness and ideology.
concept of ‘liquid modernity’, for example, the world appears as ravaged by unregulated flows of virtual capital that have lost all connection with nature, humanity, and the ethical life of the state. All that Western societies are left with, after the collapse of the old securities of class and nation, is the desperate desire to have fun in the ‘managed playground’ of postmodern consumerism, and to make sure they keep out those ‘others’ who would ruin the party (Bauman, 2000: 53–90; 1993:
superman is able to wrench himself free of the utilitarian pleasures of the eye and the stomach, that his virtue can disturb the demotic happiness of the marketplace (Nietzsche, 1984: 78–81). And so, Zarathustra’s songs and the poetry of his words are addressed to the traces of the future that live in the most powerful souls, those who anticipate the ‘free spirits’ for whom the world will be the source of joyful overcoming (Nietzsche, 1984: 99–104). There is, then, a secret economy that
pursuit of the glory of God against the excesses of the godless (Nietzsche, 1990: 182–3). It is this transformation that lies at the root of what Nietzsche calls bad conscience. Once the divinely sanctioned mission of universal love has demonized the world of sensory desire, the life of spirit is turned against its attachment to the world of sense, and the power of the strong is trapped in ecstasies of guilt and denial (Nietzsche, 1990: 194–6). Socialism, according to Nietzsche, is inextricably
is essential to the political organization of fascism. The force with which the fascist assemblage is able to demand 130 Politics of Happiness submission to the collective will of the Volk, and with which it is able to solicit mass participation in millennial projects of purification and rebuilding, depends on the condensation of historical time into the heat of the event. Thus, the destructive evanescence of the fascist regime – its constitution as a movement whose violence keeps everything
reflexive modernization thesis developed by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, is, at least in part, an attempt to respond to the question of what a democratically organized, post-religious form of social solidarity might look like (Beck, 1996; 2008; Giddens 1997a; 1997b). The foundation of Beck and Giddens’ thesis is a particular conception of modernity in which the rationalization process determines not only the normative crisis which characterized the expansion of industrial production, but also