The Autonomy of the Political: Conquered or Posited?

Posted: 29 Mar 2010

See all articles by Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo

Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark

Abstract

Ideals of autonomy are prevalent in contemporary political theory, especially in relation to notions of individual responsibility. These also figure in discussions about the relationship between the economic, political, and cultural field in modernity. Once coupled with “the political” – an unavoidable yet elusive category – the question of autonomy has elicited several critical reactions. The range is wide: from defenders of the autonomy of the political who see this autonomy as a precondition of meaningful political actions, to critics who see as yet another liberal and secular conceit that we are well advised to abandon. This essay interrogates these terms of discussion and presents an argument about the autonomy of the political that emphasizes both the structural nature of its emergence, as well as the role of political action in rendering it meaningful. The autonomy of the political thus emerges as something conquered rather than merely structurally posited.

Suggested Citation

Vázquez-Arroyo, Antonio, The Autonomy of the Political: Conquered or Posited?. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580734

Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark ( email )

180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

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