Searching for Satya through Ahimsa: Gandhi's challenge to Western discourses of power

Steger, M 2006, 'Searching for Satya through Ahimsa: Gandhi's challenge to Western discourses of power', Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 332-353.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Searching for Satya through Ahimsa: Gandhi's challenge to Western discourses of power
Author(s) Steger, M
Year 2006
Journal name Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Start page 332
End page 353
Total pages 21
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Abstract [article extract] Using Gandhi's perspective to bring to light some insufficiently thematized underpinnings of Western liberal, Marxist, and poststructuralist discourses of power, the present essay is designed as a problem-centered exercise in interpretive inquiry. Constituting the "indispensable, defining feature of political theory understood as an intellectual craft," such inquiries challenge Western political and social theorists to put to the test the adequacy of their views on political power through a cross-cultural search for new meanings. Thus, such inquiries respond to what Fred Dallmayr calls "propitious moments in the history of political philosophy," when "Western and Eastern thought for the first time can become partners in a genuine global dialogue." Finally, in an era of globalization characterized by shrinking time and space, such interpretative endeavors also appeal to the kind of phronesis that can actually be used and applied by global political activists. The reassertion of a problem-driven critical theory in the social sciences, in turn, reinvigorates the impulse to understand and address the pressing political problems of the early twenty-first century. By raising the crucial question of how political power can be conceptualized and practiced in nonviolent ways, Gandhi focused on the importance of linking political theory to the practical task of defusing the loci of violence in society. My concluding remarks will therefore touch upon the more general problem of linking critical theory to the dimension of praxis in our age of globalization.
Subject Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Keyword(s) non violence
power
Ghandhi
DOI - identifier 10.1111/j.1467-8675.2006.00405.x
Copyright notice © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN 1351-0487
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