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The End of Ideology and Utopia?

Moral Imagination and Cultural Criticism in the Twentieth Century

Leonidas Donskis

Are ideology and utopia exhausted and dead on the threshold of the twenty-first century? According to Leonidas Donskis, they survive in the modern social sciences and humanities as well as in various critiques of society and culture, as the inner spring of the cultural and moral imaginations. In tracing what he terms the modern moral imagination, Donskis works out a theory of tolerance, dialogue, human intersubjectivity, the discovery and demonization of the Other, and ideology and utopia as a framework for social and cultural criticism. In portraying four major critics of culture of the twentieth century (Vytautas Kavolis, Ernest Gellner, Louis Dumont, and Lewis Mumford), this book reveals four modes of being of the contemporary critique of culture. Leonidas Donskis shows how modern critiques of culture originate in political philosophy, philosophy of culture, sociology, and the comparative study of civilizations.
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A Litmus Test Case of Modernity

Examining Modern Sensibilities and the Public Domain in the Baltic States at the Turn of the Century

Leonidas Donskis

This volume offers the insights of Baltic and Western European scholars into present socioeconomic, migration, identity, gender, race, media, and historical memory issues in the Baltic States. The book attempts to show the intensity and depth of social, economic and cultural change in the Baltic region. It throws light on why and how three small countries have become a litmus test case of modernity and its sensibilities, stretching from authoritarian and totalitarian past to liberal-democratic present. An historic jump from the Soviet Union to the European Union was accompanied by a dramatic struggle of the Baltic States for their inalienable right to return to the political map of the world. The Baltic States allow us a glimpse of the twentieth century history better than anything else. This interdisciplinary volume, by virtue of different perspectives employed by political scientists, gender and race scholars, communication and journalism researchers, linguists, and anthropologists will enable a readership to get the first-hand knowledge about an unprecedented social and political change that took place in the Baltic States over the past nineteen years. In addition, the book allows a point of departure into some historical memory clashes, controversies, and moral and political debates over the past and its impact on the present.
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Power and Imagination

Studies in Politics and Literature


Leonidas Donskis

Classical and modern literature often reveal more about the organized world’s forms of power and authority structures than do works of political philosophy. What are the origins of political consciousness? How does our understanding of political power and its exercise originate in literature? Why do the early manifestations of political and religious tolerance appear in utopian literature, rather than in philosophical treatises? Is it possible to do fictionally what others tend to do academically and theoretically? Exploring these questions allows Leonidas Donskis to analyze the relationship between power and imagination, politics and literature, and the principles of reality and imagination.