Research / Projects

Loss of grounds as common ground: an interdisciplinary investigation of the common beyond liberal and communitarian claims

The project represents an interdisciplinary study within the fields of political philosophy, philosophy and literature. It aims to investigate the notions of "the common" and the "loss of the common" in relation to the conditions of modern society. These phenomenon are analyzed with reference to the political experiences of the 20th century that divided Europe. The project attempts to conceptualize the impact of these notions and thereby reconsider the central idea of "commonality" in political philosophy. It envisages the concept of a common ground for society that lies beyond universalistic claims of either liberal or communitarian theories. Different from classical ways of interpreting the notion of the common, it elaborates the theoretical framework for this approach with the help of phenomenology and especially the thoughts of Hannah Arendt, Jan Patocka, Martin Heidegger and Josef Tischner. Furthermore, the project closely relates their theories to the historical experiences of Central and Eastern Europe, as members of civic freedom movements and writers expressed it. The notion of a "groundless common" seems appropriate to form a ground for a study of the experience of historical ruptures shaped by the Revolution in 1917 and the changing map of Europe in 1989. On the basis of the expression of this exåeroemce in philosophy, cultural theory and literature, this project will conceptualize historical changes, and rethink commonality in today's societies, which is characterized by markers of uncertainty about the contents of the "common good". The project aims to contribute to the humanistic and culturally oriented research carried out at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies especiallly related to the research theme Critical cultural theory.

Publications

The present investigation analyses the political thought of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. It focuses on the question of how we are to understand political life: what are its distinguishing features and how we are to circumscribe it conceptually. According to Patočka the experience of politics is one characterized by a loss of meaning, a loss of a foundation or principle that could lend stability to our lives. It is an experience of a tremor by and through which the foundations of our experience are shaken.Philosophy’s political task is, however, not to provide any foundation for political life, but rather to address the question of why man is inclined to posit metaphysical foundations and why refuge in ideological principles is sought. Philosophy must instead engage with the groundlessness and negativity permeating human existence as such. In order to provide an analysis of human existence, and how this very groundlessness of existence is exposed in politics, Patočka calls for an “a-subjective phenomenology” that abandons the traditional notion of the subject and of subjectivity. An “a-subjective” phenomenological analysis is central for the present investigation. The author shows that it is only by and through Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology that his political thought can be understood; out of his distinctive phenomenological analyses, the negativity, instability and groundlessness of human existence is brought to the fore. Politically, this negativity manifests itself in two phenomena, which, when taken together, constitute the very bedrock for politics: freedom and human coexistence. Human existence is neither stable nor self-sufficient.  On the contrary, it is always already exposed to others, always already engaged in the self-transcending movement of its freedom. Freedom and coexistence are in this respect two interrelated expressions of the inherent negativity of human existence and two phenomena that, accordingly, occupy a privileged position in this study. The author seeks to show that it is by way of an in-depth analysis of freedom and coexistence that the question of politics can be addressed in the work of Patočka since they give testament to the trembling, unnerving, and disorienting nature of politics.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback

Gustav Strandberg

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2017

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

In: Dis-orientations. London : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015. 187-218.

A comparative reading of Walter Benjamin's linguistic theology and Sören Kirkegaard's theory of the revolutionary age.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Irina Sandomirskaja

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2015

School/Centre

CBEESSchool of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

London : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Marcia CavalcanteTora Lane

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2014

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

New York; London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Peter Trawny

Marcia Cavalcante

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2014

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

-

Stockholm : Axl Books, 2013.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Jean-Luc Nancy

Marcia Cavalcante

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2013

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

Stockholm : Drucksache, 2013.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Ola Nilsson

Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2013

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education
Philosophy

Research area for doctoral studies

-

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2013.

”Fenomenologin får inte vara en metafysik, utan en kritik av all metafysik, av alla stelnade system.””Om vi vill nå fram till sanningen kan vi inte bara söka efter den i lågländerna och vi får inte låta oss fascineras av den ytliga harmonins stillhet; vi måste låta det oroande, det oförsonliga och det gåtfulla växa i oss, det som det vanliga livet blundar för, det som det förbigår till förmån for dagens ordning.”Inledning till fenomenologisk filosofi samlar de föreläsningar som den tjeckiske filosofen Jan Patočka höll vid Karlsuniversitet i Prag mellan 1969 och 1970.Det som står i fokus är fenomenologin och dess utveckling från Edmund Husserls första arbeten fram till och med Martin Heideggers analyser i Vara och tid. I dessa föreläsningar introducerar Patočka fenomenologin genom att framhålla både fenomenologins aktualitet och dess många kontaktytor med filosofihistorien.Dessa föreläsningar kan betraktas som en inledning till fenomenologins grundbegrepp, likaväl som ett utmärkt sätt att bekanta sig med viktiga dimensioner i Patočkas egen filosofi.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Jan Patočka


Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2013

School/Centre

-

-


Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

Status

Started

Project Manager

Marcia Cavalcante
Professor
School of Culture and Education

People linked to the project

Irina Sandomirskaja
Professor
School of Culture and Education

Tora Lane
Researcher, PhD
School of Culture and Education


Leonard Neuger

More information

Project start: 2012
Project end: 2017

Financier: Östersjöstiftelsen

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: Yes

Information på svenska

Subjects to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked