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The Politics of Metanoia

Towards a Post-Nationalistic Political Theology in Ethiopia


Theodros A. Teklu

This book examines and critiques secular modes of self-writing in Ethiopia that put considerable emphasis on the enactment of national/ethnic identity leading to an equivocal situation wherein the ethos that binds people has been greatly eroded. Its analysis demonstrates that such modes of thought are flawed not only on the notion of the human subject, but also inappropriately position the religious or the theological. The book argues that a theological turn generates theological resources for a social horizon of hope – for the apotheosis of the bond of togetherness – which risks thinking politics in an altogether different way beyond the ethno-national logic. This, as the author argues, paves the way for the possibility of a new political subject and the reinvention of politics.
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Part I Imaginative Practices

← 32 | 33 →Part I


Having cursorily reviewed the two paradigms and methodological approaches; namely, the functionalist paradigm and the instrumentalist paradigm, in the Introduction, I would like to elaborate my own approach here. As I have already indicated earlier, I opt to call the mode in which I situate my own methodological approach a hermeneutical approach. Such a methodology will draw upon mainly three thinkers: Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault and Paul Ricoeur. The key philosophical question I shall raise will be: how do we become subjects?

I shall start with Althusser who will lay the foundation for our inquiry with his materialist and functionalist account of ideology (Chapter 1). Our particular interest will be on his doctrine of interpellation and ideological apparatuses and their practices in relation to the question of the subject. Secondly, we will see how Foucault’s notion of subjectivity complements and develops Althusser’s account of subjectivation (Chapter 2). Specifically, we will focus on Foucault’s technologies of the self. The discussion on Foucault will be the theoretical bridge between coercive ideology (Althusser) and agency (Ricoeur). Finally, we will turn to Ricoeur whose work can rescue the loss of agency in both Althusser’s and Foucault’s accounts of subject formation (Chapter 3).← 33 | 34 →

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