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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The break in tradition: Hannah Arendt and conceptual change

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.06.01  Social sciences  Political science  Politology 

Code Science Field
S170  Social sciences  Political and administrative sciences 

Code Science Field
5.06  Social Sciences  Political science 
Keywords
Arendt, break in tradition, conceptual change, Koselleck, basic concepts, translation, post-socialist challenges
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (10)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  18631  MSc Franja Arlič  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022 
2.  28195  PhD Veronika Bajt  Social sciences  Researcher  2019  241 
3.  37540  Jerneja Brumen  Administrative and organisational sciences  Junior researcher  2019 - 2020  31 
4.  03706  PhD Vlasta Jalušič  Political science  Head  2019 - 2022  395 
5.  27894  PhD Neža Kogovšek Šalamon  Law  Researcher  2019 - 2022  389 
6.  28324  PhD Mirt Komel  Philosophy  Researcher  2019 - 2022  494 
7.  24033  PhD Gorazd Kovačič  Sociology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  250 
8.  33358  PhD Boštjan Nedoh  Philosophy  Researcher  2019 - 2022  139 
9.  29686  PhD Iztok Šori  Sociology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  208 
10.  31548  PhD Lana Zdravković  Humanities  Researcher  2019 - 2022  256 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0366  Peace Institute  Ljubljana  5498295000  3,610 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,255 
3.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,199 
Abstract
Arendt’s contribution has gained great importance in political thought over the past twenty years, her works have been translated into many languages, and many of her concepts have become key to the interpretation of modernity, problems of evil, collective violence and crimes, terrorism, rights and refugees. Exploring her opus  represents an independent  area of studies and  clusters of her concepts have been widely researched by Arendt scholars. Yet there exist no systematic research of her contribution to the analysis of conceptual change, which would examine her relation to existing schools of concept studies and explore the relevance of her specific approach.  She is still seen as an eclectic and essayistic thinker even though her whole work can be described as one of the most original cases for rethinking conceptual challenges ‘after Auschwitz’.   Several approaches to conceptual change and history (Begriffsgeschichte) exist within the European research tradition: from Kosellcek's monumental work on concepts in their historical dynamic, the French and Italian school to the Cambridge history of political thought, focusing on changes in relation between speech and action. The differences notwithstanding, they all proceed either from Heidegger's temporal dimension or from the so called linguistic turn, and identify some kind of break between »old« and »modern« world as the origin of modern concepts. Koselleck defines Sattelzeit and the crisis as decisive moments for the formation of modern conceptuality (Begrifflichkeit). Arendt seems to make a similar move while taking the break in tradition as the basis for her thinking which she historically locates at the beginning of the total domination in the 20th century. The break represents a negative starting point for understanding of the new phenomena and rethinking whether  old concepts still have a meaning at all and what consequences this brings for our comprehension of phenomena such as power, authority, violence, politics, bureaucracy, imperialism, etc. This project uses Hannah Arendt’s thesis of the ‘break of tradition’ and the consequences of this break  for political theory, for understanding, the usage and translation of some of the basic concepts of politics – and especially to relate these to the chosen concepts of European schools of conceptual change. It systematically  studies the specific of Arendt’s contribution to analysis of conceptual change and shows the reasons why and where is this approach similar to, or differs from and disagrees with other relevant schools, especially Koselleck’s legacy and how this impacts the explanatory power of the (selected) concepts. By taking up the perspecive of political science and building the interface between different research fields the project   aims to enhance the understanding of the influence of concepts on our ability to comprehend the contemporary challenges.  Furthermore, the goal is to reframe and re-describe some selected political concepts in an original theoretical and for political practice relevant way by bringing together a group of (younger) scholars of different background, schools and research fields. The project’s original results will be a methodological  framework for the analyses of changes,  analyses of "translation" and re-descriptions  of some basic concepts of politics in the 21st century. This will help to understand  some challenges in  the neo-liberal post-socialist surroundings: such as the break with socialism/communism, the emergence and decline of revolutionary movements at the end of millennium and the return of totalitarian tendencies in Europe and elsewhere, the burning issues of truth in/and politics,  the rise of new racism and new global divisions, the problems of nation-states, refugees, migrants, the criminalization of migration, and the increasing phenomena of superfluousness.
Significance for science
The project intervenes in an unexplored field and creates new knowledge. It fuses two research areas, Hannah Arendt's studies and the research of conceptual changes, while pursuing the interest  of political science. This is a new approach both in Slovenia and wider, so that the results will have a more general impact in social and political science. Since for the development of science, conceptual problems are at least as important as empirical problem solving, the project will make a decisive contribution to the forming of a theoretical base for empirical research.   The project brings together younger scholars who are rooted in various theoretical schools and disciplines (psychoanalysis, legal studies, cultural studies, political science, sociology). It will, among others, enhance the cooperation among scholars of different background who deal with Arendt and/or study concepts in the region, improve regional debate and therefore contribute to the original  re-working of political concepts not only “after Auschwitz” but also “after” Srebrenica”, Rwanda,  Irak and Syria.  Reconstructions of political categories from different angles will generate new knowledge in political science, especially while taking into account the specific interface between Arendt and other conceptual schools. The project will further develop Arendt studies in Slovenia, where some of the  participating researchers have worked on certain issues individually and collaborated spradically. The project will multiply their efforts, link them to the international research groups and result in joint platform for discussion and publishing.   Additionally, the results will contribute to:   A) Developing a knowledge base of social sciences and a political language; B) Understanding relevant examples of post-socialist, Europeanized and globalized political concepts and vocabulary; C) (Inter)cultural development and identity, bringing together both Slovenian, regional researchers and EU scholars as they will contribute to the development of  language by analysing the selected basic concepts in the Slovenian language as well as in relation to others (Serbo-Croatian, German, English, French and Italian); D) Deepening the understanding of critical contemporary phenomena, such as new racism and new global divisions, the problems of refugees, migration and the criminalization of migration and an increasingly widespread phenomenon of human superfluousness; E) With articles in international journals, the research group will strengthen the international and national knowledge base and influence the new quality translations of H.A. and related authors; F) Strengthened interest in linking between art, theory and science, as this will result in greater understanding, visibility and impact of research results;  G) Promoting an international scholarly and public debate on critical issues of post-modern societies such as the breakdown of revolutionary movements and the re-emergence of totalitarian tendencies in Europe and elsewhere.
Significance for the country
The project intervenes in an unexplored field and creates new knowledge. It fuses two research areas, Hannah Arendt's studies and the research of conceptual changes, while pursuing the interest  of political science. This is a new approach both in Slovenia and wider, so that the results will have a more general impact in social and political science. Since for the development of science, conceptual problems are at least as important as empirical problem solving, the project will make a decisive contribution to the forming of a theoretical base for empirical research.   The project brings together younger scholars who are rooted in various theoretical schools and disciplines (psychoanalysis, legal studies, cultural studies, political science, sociology). It will, among others, enhance the cooperation among scholars of different background who deal with Arendt and/or study concepts in the region, improve regional debate and therefore contribute to the original  re-working of political concepts not only “after Auschwitz” but also “after” Srebrenica”, Rwanda,  Irak and Syria.  Reconstructions of political categories from different angles will generate new knowledge in political science, especially while taking into account the specific interface between Arendt and other conceptual schools. The project will further develop Arendt studies in Slovenia, where some of the  participating researchers have worked on certain issues individually and collaborated spradically. The project will multiply their efforts, link them to the international research groups and result in joint platform for discussion and publishing.   Additionally, the results will contribute to:   A) Developing a knowledge base of social sciences and a political language; B) Understanding relevant examples of post-socialist, Europeanized and globalized political concepts and vocabulary; C) (Inter)cultural development and identity, bringing together both Slovenian, regional researchers and EU scholars as they will contribute to the development of  language by analysing the selected basic concepts in the Slovenian language as well as in relation to others (Serbo-Croatian, German, English, French and Italian); D) Deepening the understanding of critical contemporary phenomena, such as new racism and new global divisions, the problems of refugees, migration and the criminalization of migration and an increasingly widespread phenomenon of human superfluousness; E) With articles in international journals, the research group will strengthen the international and national knowledge base and influence the new quality translations of H.A. and related authors; F) Strengthened interest in linking between art, theory and science, as this will result in greater understanding, visibility and impact of research results;  G) Promoting an international scholarly and public debate on critical issues of post-modern societies such as the breakdown of revolutionary movements and the re-emergence of totalitarian tendencies in Europe and elsewhere.
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