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The Barcelona Debate

Wield the Word

The Barcelona Debate 2015

Do we need new words to describe the world? Are the traditional concepts of politics still helpful for understanding the conditions in which we live and act? Are they of any use in explaining the multiplicity of forces, problems and dreams that shape collective life? The erosion of old ways of going about politics and the disrepute of institutions; the changes of scale, speed and perspective in a globalised world; the new relationships between identity, power, State and the market, together with far-reaching technological changes, have extended and, in some cases, forced the limits and possibilities of these categories. “Equality”, “freedom”, “sovereignty”, “citizenship”, “State”: it is necessary to rethink and revise the possibilities for acting, understanding and changing the conditions of human coexistence. Wielding the word and updating its senses are also ways of re-conquering the world.


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Seyla Benhabib

Wield the Word. Citizenship

Seyla Benhabib is a leading philosopher specialising in European social and political thought, feminist theory and the history of modern political theory. She is one of the most authoritative voices in the philosophical debate on difference. In this lecture she reflects on the instability of ...

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