Blasting the Past: A Rereading of Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History

  • Žarko Cvejić Associate Professor, Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade
Keywords: Walter Benjamin, history, historical materialism, historicism, progress, Karl Marx, allegory, narrativity, continuum of history, Fascism

Abstract

The text offers a reappraisal of Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History (Über den Begriff der Geschichte; ‘On the Concept of History’) from the perspective of global politics today and its similarities with the socio-economic and political situation in Europe and the Americas during the 1920s and 30s; more specifically, the impact of crises on the erosion of trust in liberal representative democracy and the concomitant rise of mostly rightwing populist movements and their strongmen leaders, aided to a significant degree by the media, ‘old’ and ‘new’ alike. The purpose of the text is to draw lessons from Benjamin’s vision of materialist historiography for our current political predicament.

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Published
2019-09-28