Ways of being political

Isin, Engin F. (2002). Ways of being political. Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory(4) pp. 7–28.

URL: http://www.distinktion.dk/archive/d4.shtml


What would creating a new image of the city entail? This essay argues for two moves: one ontological and one genealogical. First, we must recognize the difference between 'the political' and 'politics'. The essence of the political lies in the relations between beings that are established through their comportment toward each other and toward being. Thus, ontological investigations concern the political as the condition for the possibility of politics. Second, we must recognize the difference between 'the city' and 'cities'. Genealogical investigations, thereby, examine different modes and forms of being political as the ways in which being political manifest themselves. Taken together these two investigations reveal the essence of the city as the essence of the political. The objects of ontological and genealogical investigations are the political and the city rather than politics (facts about that-beings) and cities (facts about where-beings).

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