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Mikhail BakhtinAn Aesthetic for Democracy$
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Ken Hirschkop

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159612.001.0001

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Fear and Democracy

Fear and Democracy

(p.272) CHAPTER SEVEN Fear and Democracy
Mikhail Bakhtin


Oxford University Press

The chapter states how the public square requires an element of boldness in terms of fear and democracy. In Bakhtin’s eyes political power does not thrust you onto the historical stage but merely allows you to make a fool of yourself. For a decade, Bakhtin distinguished between laughter and fear rather than monologism and dialogism. He focused on the tonality rather than the style of discourse. He wrote about the fear he himself experienced but in extremes. He disclosed a world constituting fear and not a specific fear. One can call it a phenomenological, philosophical, or anthropological fear. Bakhtin defended his concept of a historical culture in the wake of a history gone populist. He was willing to give the masses their history. However, he was afraid that it would devalue the language of rights. He dreamt of dialogues and spaces that were both unrealistic and utterly necessary.

Keywords:   public square, monologism, dialogism, phenomenological fear, philosophical fear, anthropological fear, populist

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