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A Philosophy of Political Myth
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  • Page extent: 294 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.534 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.01
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JA71 .B584 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Political science--Philosophy
    • Myth
    • Mythology--Political aspects

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521876551)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$103.00 (C)

In this book, Chiara Bottici argues for a philosophical understanding of political myth. Bottici shows that myth is a process, one of continuous work on a basic narrative pattern that responds to a need for significance. Human beings need meaning in order to master the world they live in, but they also need significance in order to live in a world that is less indifferent to them. This is particularly true in the realm of politics. Political myths are narratives through which we orient ourselves, and act and feel about our political world. Bottici shows that in order to come to terms with contemporary phenomena, such as the clash between civilizations, we need a Copernican revolution in political philosophy. If we want to save reason, we need to look at it from the standpoint of myth.


Introduction; Part I. A Genealogy of Myth: 1. Mythos and logos; 2. The biblos and the dialectic of the sacred logos; 3. Scientific rationality and the dialectic of the enlightenment; Part II. The Need for Myth: 4. Myth and meaning; 5. Approaching myth; 6. Naming the unknown, grounding significance; Part III. Political Myth: 7. Myth and the critique of political reason; 8. Classical theories of political myth; 9. Political myth, ideology, and utopia; Part IV. Myth and Political Identity: 10. Myth, historical narratives and the social imaginary; 11. Myth and identity; 12. Political myths today: the extraordinary and the banal.


"An excellent book with many moving parts."
- Ann Ward, The European Legacy

"... This book, A Philosophy of Political Myth, is dedicated to a philosophical understanding of political myth..."
- Chiara Ebosi, Humana-Mente

"Chiara Bottici’s new book A Philosophy of Political Myth is a comprehensive and groundbreaking answer to these questions [as to the nature of myth], and in it, she shows us the importance of myth in the study of philosophy, culture and politics. […] In sum, Bottici’s book is an important contribution to political philosophy as well as to the theory of imagination and culture."
-Philosophy and Social Criticism

“Bottici has endeavoured to provide a framework within which the study of myth can be usefully developed, and in this sense she has performed a very useful work of Lockean philosophical underlaboring.”
-Review of Politics

“Apart from its impressive range of reference and the clarity of its argument, what most commends Bottici’s study is its cool-headed appraisal of a phenomenon which, given the complexity of modern societies and the resulting need for the symbolic mediation of political experience, is now more relevant than ever."
-Thesis Eleven

"A Philosophy of Political Myth makes a valuable contribution to a hermeneutics of modernity and political theory, and offers a distinctive way into understandings of contemporary manifestation of work on myth as intrinsic to modern constellations."
-European Journal of Social Theory

"Chiara Bottici’s A Philosophy of Political Myth is a useful contribution to the study of “myth” for two reasons. First, it surveys a wide variety of literature on myth, from ancient Greece to early modern Europe to the present—the breadth of her research is astonishing, and the bibliography alone is an incredibly valuable resource for those interested in exploring this topic. Second, and more importantly, Bottici’s central purpose is to weed out less useful ways of thinking about political myth from more sophisticated uses. […] It would be a valuable addition (and sometimes corrective) to bookshelves containing existing works on myth and society by Ernst Cassirer, Hans Blumenberg, Cornelius Castoriadis, Adorno and Horkheimer, Bruce Lincoln, Christopher Flood, Benedict Anderson, and Anthony P. Cohen."
-Method and Theory in the Study of Religion

“The present work has a virtue that is difficult to find in philosophical books on the topic. Notwithstanding the high level of abstraction of some of its passages, the author provides us with a theory of political myth that is apt to be used and operationalized in the empirical studies of specific political myths.”
-Athenea Digital

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