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"Docherty has previously published a number of distinguished books, but this one might be seen as the culmination of his years of thought and work on the humanities and their social roles. . . . The scope of Docherty's knowledge is truly amazing. . . . [He] writes with a quite unusual combination of passionate commitment and temperate clarity about difficult matters." J. Hillis Miller,University of California, Irvine
From the Inside Flap
Aesthetic Democracy argues that art and the aesthetic in general are the founding condition of the possibility of establishing social and political democracy. The book examines contemporary criticism and finds that it is historically shaped by colonialism, and that it sets up an opposition of east and west that shapes all contemporary cultural politics. The author argues for a way of outwitting this potentially dangerous struggle of east and west grounded in an aestheticism and a validation of sensory experience. Docherty proposes a new model of cultural critique, based on a revitalized and positively valorized notion of “hypocrisy,” whose roots lie in Machiavelli, but whose contemporary strength lies in its potential for an ethical encounter with alterity as such.