Aesthetics and Transcendence in the Arab Uprisings
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Politics is regarded as a science for it tells us what to do, when it deals with measurable concepts. But politics is also an art—a form of practice, telling us how and when to do things. Lest we forget, the arts of persuasion and inspiration are part of politics. And, every art also produces an aesthetic. By aesthetics I mean, the ways by which we think about art: recall, art is what we do and how we do things. Th ose things and acts that become visible when we do and produce certain actions—jubilation, conversations, speeches, greetings, protests, banners, deaths, wounds and other expressions—all constitute the means by which thought becomes visible, effective, and sensible. These forms and visible expressions of the sensible constitute the aesthetics of politics. Only the patient will know where the momentum for change in the Arab world is heading. But, if the outcome of the Arab uprisings is unclear, then there is one certainty: the people have changed the order of the sensible. Thanks to peaceful protests in the face of regime brutality, tens of millions of people have performed change in myriads of expressions: aesthetics. Their feelings have cumulatively changed, and how people feel about governance is ultimately what politics is all about.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1163/187633711X591512
Publication InfoMoosa, Ebrahim EI (2011). Aesthetics and Transcendence in the Arab Uprisings. Middle East Law and Governance, 4. pp. 171-180. 10.1163/187633711X591512. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/5743.
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Professor in the Department of Religious Studies
Ebrahim E.I. Moosa is Professor of Religious and Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies. His interests span both classical and modern Islamic thought with a special focus on Islamic law, history, ethics and theology. Dr Moosa is the author of Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, winner of the American Academy of Religion's Best First Book in the History of Religions (2006) and editor of the last manuscript of the late Professor Fazlur Rahman, Revival and Reform in Islam: A