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A Politics of the Ordinary - Thomas L. Dumm

A Politics of the Ordinary

Paperback Published: 1st July 1999
ISBN: 9780814718971
Number Of Pages: 215

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An untimely book in the best sense of that term. While others announce the solidity of common sense and the necessity of moral certainty, Thomas dumm explores the mysterious indeterminancy of ordinary life itself. Along the way he reveals how important this very indeterminancy is to politics and ethics. And his compelling engagement with thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Cavell, and Deleuze illuminates the place of the extrordinary within the ordinary.--William Connolly"The apparent excesses in Emerson's and Thoreau's voices may be heard as efforts, addressed first to themselves, not to give in to a madness of despair over, and yet of hope for, an American democracy, a new world. Tom Dumm's politics of hte ordinary responds with mutually modifying ideas of the political and of ordinary life in which the ordinary is not one more order, violently conformed to, but the name of any time at which our desires for a better world find new chances of expression, and habitation. To provide such encounters of effective surprise requires a capacious interest in the unmarked eventfulness of the world, in the ways we ornament, perhaps in a choice of song, our getting along, and in posing awakening explorations and juxtapositions of texts-- matters that Tom Dumm's sometimes narrative, sometimes pedagogical, somtimes lyrical, always risky prose asks of itself, and receives."--Stanley CavellInA Politics of the Ordinary, Thomas Dumm dramatizes how everyday life in the United States intersects with and is influenced by the power of events, on the one hand, and forces of conformity and normalcy on the other. Combining poststructuralist analysis with a sympathetic reading of a strain of American thought that begins with Emerson and culminates in the work of Stanley Cavell,A Politics of the Ordinaryinvestigates incidents from everyday life, political spectacles, and popular culture.Wether juxtaposing reflections about boredom in rural New Mexico with Emerson's theory of constitutional amendment, Richard Nixon's letter of resignation with Thoreau's writings to overcome quiet desperation, or demonstrating how Disney'sToy Storyallegorizes the downsizing of the American white-collar work force, Dumm's constant concern is to show how the ordinary is the primary source of the democratic political imagination.

"An untimely book in the best sense of that term. While others announce the solidity of common sense and the necessity of moral certainty, Thomas dumm explores the mysterious indeterminancy of ordinary life itself. Along the way he reveals how important this very indeterminancy is to politics and ethics. And his compelling engagement with thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Cavell, and Deleuze illuminates the place of the extrordinary within the ordinary."

-William Connolly

ISBN: 9780814718971
ISBN-10: 0814718973
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 215
Published: 1st July 1999
Publisher: New York University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.84 x 15.19  x 1.55
Weight (kg): 0.32