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New Beginnings between Public and Private: Arendt and Ethnographies of Activism

Day, Sophie E. and Goddard, Victoria. 2010. New Beginnings between Public and Private: Arendt and Ethnographies of Activism. Cultural Dynamics, 22(2), pp. 137-154. ISSN 0921-3740 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We explore Arendt’s idiom of ‘new beginnings’ which, for her, constitute the very heart of the political in the light of two case studies. Drawing on examples of political action in the human rights organization of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and among sex workers in London, this article engages with the complex and productive interface of what Arendt calls praxis and poiesis. We suggest that it is precisely through this interface that these women activists have articulated ‘a new beginning’. Their actions call into question the distinctions that Arendt also makes between private and public insofar as these are given beforehand or assumed independently of such action. They also, we hope, contribute to a broader consideration of activism and ethnography.

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Research Office > REF2014



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Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2011 12:09

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 11:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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