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The Ethical Turn Of Aesthetics And Politics

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Chapter Summary

In order to truly understand what is at stake in the ethical turn that affects aesthetics and politics today, we must first precisely define the meaning of the word 'ethics'. Ethics is viewed as a general instance of normativity that enables one to judge the validity of practices and discourses operating in the particular spheres of judgement and action. The simplistic opposition of the modern and the postmodern prevents us from understanding the transformations of the present situation and what is at stake in them. It makes one forget that modernism itself has only ever been a long contradiction between two opposed aesthetic politics. The historical tension between two figures of the avant-garde tends to vanish in the ethical couple of an art of proximity dedicated to the restoration of the social bond and an art witnessing the irremediable catastrophe at the origin of that bond.

Keywords: aesthetics; ethical turn; modernism; normativity; politics; social bond



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