Aesthetics and World Politics (Rethinking Peace and Conflict by R. Bleiker

By R. Bleiker

This ebook offers one of many first systematic checks of aesthetic insights into international politics. It examines the character of aesthetic techniques and descriptions how they fluctuate from conventional research of politics. The booklet explores the aptitude and boundaries of aesthetics via a chain of case stories on language and poetics.

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16 Aesthetic approaches, by contrast, embark on a direct political encounter, for they engage the gap that inevitably opens up between a form of representation and the object it seeks to represent. Rather than constituting this gap as a threat to knowledge and political stability, as mimetic theories do or imply, aesthetic approaches accept its inevitability. Indeed, they recognise that the difference between represented and representation is the very location of politics. 17 Consider, by way of illustration, the similarities between the work of a painter and a social scientist.

Knowledge that is communicated through artistic, philosophical and historical insights cannot always be verified, as Gadamer stresses, by methodological means proper to science. 55 It produces what can be called an ‘excess’ experience – that is, an experience, sensuous at times, which cannot be apprehended or codified by non-aesthetic forms of knowledge. 56 And this is why aesthetic truth claims need to be validated by means other than empirical evidence and scientific falsification procedures.

39 Irony draws attention to the fact that representation is an inevitably political issue, that there is always a gap between what is observed and how this observation is represented in and through language. 40 Some of these tensions between the mimetic and the aesthetic have insinuated themselves into prevalent international relations scholarship. Kenneth Waltz, in one of his relatively frequent escapes from mimetic conventions, stresses that theories result from a process of abstraction and are thus distinct from the realities they seek to explain.

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