The Temporality of Political Obligation offers a critique and reconceptualization of the ways in which our political obligations – what we owe to political authorities and communities, and the reasons why we ought to obey their rules – have been traditionally conceptualized, justified, and contested.
Drawing from theories of time and temporality, Justin C. Mueller demonstrates some of the unacknowledged assumptions and theoretical blind spots shared among these ostensibly opposed positions, and the problems and contradictions that this neglect of time poses. Enriching the literature on the philosophers Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze, Mueller demonstrates how their theoretical frameworks on time can be used to analyze a political problem that is usually confined to the concerns of normative liberal democratic theory. Politically, this book provides readers with the means to better identify and analyze the diverse temporalities they encounter in everyday life, and better understand their experiences of them.
A welcomed and timely read which will be of interest to scholars involved in recent efforts to engage with the social and political dimensions and consequences of time and temporality.
Table of Contents
Foreword Michael Weinstein Introduction: Time and Political Obligation 1. Time and Temporality 2. Modernity and Political Obligation 3. Vertical Time-Binding 4. Horizontal Time-Binding 5. Chronarchy and Obligation
Justin C. Mueller received his PhD in Political Science from Purdue University, and currently lectures at Northeastern University. His research interests include the intersection of time and politics, particularly surrounding questions of obligation, obedience, belonging, and freedom.
'Justin C. Mueller revivifies the discussion of political obligation by drawing on the temporal philosophies of Bergson and Deleuze. He creates novel concepts to show how traditional theories of political obligation seek to bind us to existing forms of social and political order. His aim is not to deny the role that obligations play in our political and everyday lives, but to point to the ever present possibility of their modification or transformation. The concluding chapter is a tour de force that sketches some of the ways in which this temporal perspective might transform other problems in political philosophy such as the nature of freedom and the understanding of anarchism. This book will be of interest to scholars of political obligation and to anyone interested in the possibilities of productive engagement between political theory and contemporary European philosophy.'—Paul Patton, The University of New South Wales, Australia
'This is an elegant and pellucid account of a core political concept. Mobilizing his late mentor Michael Weinstein’s method of "love piracy," Mueller assembles an array of unusual suspects-Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Justis Buchler, Max Stirner- to confront the blind spot at the heart of both apologists and critics of political obligation-temporality: the political subject’s lived experience of time. At once an exhaustive typology, a cogent refutation of the extant theoretical impasse, and enactment of the critical freedom it advocates, The Temporality of Political Obligation affirmatively recasts modern and postmodern discussions of political authority.'—Diane S. Rubenstein, Cornell University, USA
'The Temporality of Political Obligation is not only a significant contribution to the question of political obligation but to political theory itself. By putting time at the forefront of his analysis, Mueller demonstrates how political theorists can rethink and reconceive enduring political questions in new and exciting ways. It paves a new way for political theorists to explore political questions and is a model of what political theory at its best can accomplish.'—VoegelinView