The politics of transformative harmony

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Desmond, Elaine
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This paper explores the idea of transformative harmony as a concern of the political. It proposes that the cultivation of harmony as a project of the Self is closely related to the political project of democracy as a quest for social harmony. This is in light of the view that social conflict can be seen as a collective manifestation of individual struggles to establish inner harmony. The paper, firstly, explores the idea that the quest for harmony is an intersubjective, as well as an intra-subjective, undertaking. This is in line with the Gandhian principle that societies ultimately reflect the level of enlightenment of the actors who form them. It also critiques the use of violence as a means of securing transformative harmony and social change. Finally, the paper discusses the way in which transformative harmony, in terms of its focus on the Self as the site for attaining the type of altered consciousness required to bring about social change, shares a philosophical basis with both ideas of ‘deep democracy’ and Habermasian discourse ethics. It is proposed that the project of transformative harmony represents, by default, a project to transform democratic praxis. Keywords: Harmony, politics, ethics, rights, duties, Gandhi, democracy, risk.
Harmony , Politics , Ethics , Rights , Duties , Gandhi , Democracy , Risk
Desmond, Elaine (2013) ‘The politics of transformative harmony,’ Gandhi Marg Quarterly, 35(1), pp. 119-132.
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