Max Stirner and the Politics of Posthumanism

Newman, Saul. 2002. Max Stirner and the Politics of Posthumanism. Contemporary Political Theory, 1(2), pp. 221-238. ISSN 1470-8914 [Article]

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This paper explores Max Stirner's political philosophy and its importance for contemporary theory. While our time is characterized by the breaking down and dislocation of essential and universal identities, little has been written on the philosophical roots of this phenomenon. I show the ways in which Stirner's ‘epistemological break’ with Enlightenment humanism, explicit in his critique of Feuerbach, lays the theoretical groundwork for this ‘politics of difference’. Indeed it anticipates many aspects of ‘poststructuralism’ thought. I argue here that Stirner's critique of humanism, essentialist identity, rationality, and moral absolutism unmasks the subtle connections between identity, desire and politics. It also goes beyond the political imaginary of the Enlightenment and, in doing so, allows us to deconstruct accepted political and social identities and radically transform the notion of the political subject. However, Stirner's thinking is not a simplistic transgression of humanist categories. Rather he shows their discursive limitations and calls for a rethinking of these concepts in ways that are less abstract and oppressive.

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11 Aug 2015 13:27

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30 Jun 2017 12:21

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