Anxiety and Lucidity: Reflections on Culture in Times of Unrest, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Anxiety and Lucidity

Reflections on Culture in Times of Unrest, 1st Edition

By Leszek Koczanowicz


224 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367218232
pub: 2020-06-29
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This book explores the nature of modern culture as a culture of anxiety, analyzing the modes in which such anxiety presents itself. Drawing on sociological and philosophical concepts of modernity, the author builds on the work of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud to offer an understanding of modern anxiety culture as the reverse side of risk culture, which stabilizes itself by concealing or making familiar the social phenomena of risk society. Through explorations of memory, politics, art, clairvoyance, notions of national community and identity, this volume sheds light on the fissures in our culture where anxiety appears, thus revealing its underlying volatility. A study of the ruptures in our modern culture, Anxiety and Lucidity will appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory, anthropology and philosophy with interests in late modern culture.


"Anxiety may well be a hard-wired feature of the human condition, but there are certain periods that can be justly called, with a nod to W.H. Auden, a heightened ‘age of anxiety’. In this remarkable book, the distinguished Polish cultural and social theorist Leszek Koczanowicz draws on both his personal experiences and wide-ranging erudition to examine our own highly fraught era with a lucidity that, let us hope, won’t turn out to be terminal." - Martin Jay, U. of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents


1. Angor Animi: Or, on the Culture of Anxiety

2. Identity as a Nuisance: Two Genealogies of Modern Hamartia

3. A Gladioli Postcard: Memory and Communication

4. The Memories of Childhood in a Spectral World

5. Post-communism and Culture Wars

6. The Anxiety of Intimacy: Or, on Telling the Truth in the Age of the Internet

7. The Anxiety of Politics

8. The Magical Power of Art: The Subject, the Public Sphere, and Emancipation

9. Anxieties of Community

10. "Please, Don’t Be Angry, Happiness, that I Take You as My Due": Happiness in the Age of Democratization

11. "Mortal Generations": On Two Phenomenologies of Ageing – Cicero and Améry

12. The Anxiety of Clairvoyance: Terminal Lucidity and the End of Culture

About the Author

Leszek Koczanowicz is Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland. He is the author of Politics of Dialogue: Non-Consensual Democracy and Critical Community, and Politics of Time: Dynamics of Identity in Post-Communist Poland, and the co-editor of Democracy, Dialogue, Memory: Expression and Affect Beyond Consensus, and Democracy in Dialogue, Dialogue in Democracy: The Politics of Dialogue in Theory and Practice.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General