Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Egocrat

Further to yesterday's post about the British Royal Family:

'according to lefort, the new trend, however, is again toward the display of the public official's person. the state now relies on its double in "the image of the people, which... remains indeterminate, but which nevertheless is susceptible of being determined, of being actualized on the level of phantasy as an image of the People-as-One." Public figures increasingly take on the function of concretizing that fantasmatic body image, or in other words, of actualizing the otherwise indeterminate image of the people. They embody what Lefort calls the "Egocrat," whose self-identical representativeness is perverse and unstable in a way that contrasts with the representative person of the feudal public sphere. "The prince condensed in his person the principle of power..., but he was supposed to obey a superior power... That does not seem to be the position of the Egocrat or of his substitutes, the bureaucratic leaders. The Egocrat coincides with himself, as society is supposed to coincide with itself.'

page 387-8.

in Habermas and the Public Sphere, edited by craig calhoun. published by the MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England. 1992.

essay by michael warner. 'The Mass Public and the Mass Subject.'


a.b.m.o. selim said...

this essay is a chapter of his masterpiece ''publics and counter-publics''

Anselmo Quemot said...

Thanks very much for your comment. Although Habermas's public sphere thesis is well established in social theory, it makes for a refreshing change when it penetrates what is usually classified as "cultural studies". I therefore admire Warner for bringing about something of a rapprochement between the two; in contrast to the likes of John Hartley, for example, who has gone out of his way to marginalize Habermas...