29.11.2018 Kolloquium: Frank Ankersmit: Political Representation and Political Experience
Ordinarily we locate the domain of politics between the individual voter and the state. Surely, we then include the two of them in that domain, but we don’t look ‘inside’ them. Of course, we know that a whole lot goes on in the individual voter determining his behaviour in the domain of politics and, next, that a whole lot happens in governments as well (recall the ‘Yes, minister’ sitcom), but we exclude that from the domain of politics in the proper sense of the word. In brief, we don’t enter the forum internum of the individual voter. Think of how we interpret the term ‘private’ in the distinction between ‘private law and ‘public law’. There is no psychological dimension to private law.
In my talk I will question this traditional way of defining the political domain. In one word: I will politicize the individual voter as individual voter. Put differently, I will ‘compartmentalize’ (the term was proposed by D. Mutz) into a ‘personal self’ and a ‘political self’ internalizing within the individual voter the distinction between the individual voter and the state, with which I began. The origins of this compartmentalization can be traced back to Machiavelli and they are closely intertwined with the peculiar mechanisms of political representation.
In this context I will pay special attention to the amazing inversion that sometimes can take place here and do so by an appeal to the fascinating movie The Truman Show of the late 1990s. It enables us to define and give meaningful content to the notion of ‘sublime political experience’. I will end by giving a historical example of ‘sublime political experience’.Poster