Aesthetic Tension between Politics and Government

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Kysti Pekonen


The aim of this article is to study conceptually the classic tension between politics and government, and the role of the aesthetic in this tension. The main interest in the article is in the concept of government: why do we generally need ruling and governing, what is the ‘ultimate' purpose of government, why do we, on the whole, understand the concept of government similarly in different political cultures, and, accordingly, experience governing in the same way? In getting to know the concept of ruling and governing, we at the same time learn the basic language and words, images, emotions, and aesthetic principles and codes, which are closely engaged with the concept or, vice versa, without which the concept cannot exist. The concluding argument in the article is that the ‘ultimate' purpose of good ruling and governing (including also administration and governance) is to evoke the sentiment according to which everything appears to be in order. This conclusion brings us to a well-known and widely used argument according to which one of the basic ideas of politics is, contrary to ruling and governing, to bring about changes in the social order by politicising common currencies and ‘natural' unanimity.

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