174 pages | 28 B/W Illus.
Politics with a Human Face presents a holistic understanding of identity formation in post-Soviet Europe, arguing that since politics is fundamentally a human affair. In order to adequately understand it, one needs to understand its human side first.
Drawing on the thought of Dilthey, Ricoeur and Plato, the author employs empathy as a method, together with visual and historical analysis, to analyse the role of human experience in post-Soviet politics. As a result, the book offers a theoretical approach for assessing influence of the non-rationalistic factors, such as associative symbolism, human experience, political images and historical narratives, in both domestic and foreign affairs.
A study at the juncture of Social Sciences and Humanities, Politics with a Human Face explores a number of cases, including Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, examining issues of liminal transition, ‘far-right’ movements, victimhood, ethnic conflict and political paradoxes. Seeking to shed light on the region’s agency and perception of both its own political and existential situation, and that of the surrounding world, this book constitutes a timely and original contribution to understanding the post-Soviet Europe.
1. The Human Factor in Politics
2. Lithuanian Identity Narrative
3. Liminality in post-Soviet Europe
4. Political images and identity
5. Common images, contesting narratives: the case of Maidan
6. Violence and victimhood in post-Soviet politics
7. Conclusion and Outlook
This series constitutes a forum for works that make use of concepts such as ‘imitation’, ‘trickster’ or ‘schismogenesis’, but which chiefly deploy the notion of ‘liminality’, as the basis of a new, anthropologically-focused paradigm in social theory. With its versatility and range of possible uses rivalling and even going beyond mainstream concepts such as ‘system’ ‘structure’ or ‘institution’, liminality is increasingly considered a new master concept that promises to spark a renewal in social thought.
In spite of the fact that charges of Eurocentrism or even ‘moderno-centrism’ are widely discussed in sociology and anthropology, it remains the case that most theoretical tools in the social sciences continue to rely on taken-for-granted approaches developed from within the modern Western intellectual tradition, whilst concepts developed on the basis of extensive anthropological evidence and which challenged commonplaces of modernist thinking, have been either marginalised and ignored, or trivialised. By challenging the assumed neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian foundations of modern social theory, and by helping to shed new light on the fundamental ideas of major figures in social theory, such as Nietzsche, Dilthey, Weber, Elias, Voegelin, Foucault and Koselleck, whilst also establishing connections between the perspectives gained through modern social and cultural anthropology and the central concerns of classical philosophical anthropology Contemporary Liminality offers a new direction in social thought.