Critical Antiquities Workshop | ‘Proximity and Politics’ Daniela Cammack – University of California, Berkeley
‘Proximity and Politics’
Daniela Cammack – University of California, Berkeley
What difference does regular proximity to unknown others make to the way we think about, experience, and practice mass politics? Many people dislike, even fear, crowds as oppressive, homogenizing, and intolerant, yet they can also be supportive, friendly, even joyful—thinking here of my own memories of scores of gigs and festivals. This paper argues that the experience of being physically in a mass may help to foster collective agency in a way significant for democracy. Drawing on a variety of ancient Greek and modern sources, including Aristotle, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Rousseau, and Marx, it proposes that proximity—especially being with many unknown others during decision-making processes—helps us to act collectively for two important reasons. Proximity both affects our perceptions of the feasibility of potential collective actions, especially in conjunction with mass majority voting (leading us to think we can do this); and it provides essential moral support (leading us to do more and do it better). Mass democracy without physical masses leaves too much to the imagination, thus critically hamstringing democratic agency.
Sydney: Friday, December 3, 11am – 12:30pm
New York: Thursday, December 2, 7pm – 8:30pm
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Complete Critical Antiquities Workshop program can be found here
The Critical Antiquities Workshop is an initiative of the Critical Antiquities Network (CAN) at the University of Sydney. CAN, co-directed by Ben Brown and Tristan Bradshaw, connects scholars working at the intersection of ancient traditions and contemporary critical theory.
The Department of Classics and Ancient History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).