"Appearance: Thinking Difference in the Political Realm with Hannah Arendt"

Bell, Vikki. 1999. "Appearance: Thinking Difference in the Political Realm with Hannah Arendt". In: , ed. Feminist Imagination: Genealogies in Feminist Theory. London: Sage, pp. 62-84. ISBN 0803979711 [Book Section]


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Abstract or Description

"Hannah Arendt’s relationship to feminist theory is one that has recently received much belated attention, focussing mainly on her declared non-allegiance to a politics which displayed facets of the forms of collective demand that she rallied against from her oftentimes controversial perspectives. One of her objections concerned the place of ‘the body’ and ‘identity’ in the political realm, since so-called ‘life’ issues, Arendt insisted, had no place in the realm of proper political debate; feminism constituted just the sort of assertion of a collective identity that signalled both a lack of engagement in political issues and an abuse of the possibility of true political debate. However, as Honig (1995) has commented, the feminism of the late twentieth century is one that is markedly different from that which Arendt dismissed so vehemently, and is one that concerns itself more with the issues that Arendt herself devoted much thought. In this chapter, however, the intention is less to find the utility of Arendt’s thought for feminism, but to consider the constellation of issues that Arendt addressed in her explorations of the notion of ‘the political’." (Excerpt, opening paragraph).

Item Type:

Book Section

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Sample chapter available online, with permission of publisher.


Politics; Feminism; Embodiment; Arendt; Totalinarism

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1 January 1999Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2007

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:28



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