Acquapendente (Lazio), Italy

Political Alchemy - Creative Destruction

when 21 June 2020 - 27 June 2020
language English
duration 1 week
credits 5 EC

By pairing together political alchemy and the idea of creative destruction the aim of the summer school is to revisit theoretically, in a comparative historical and anthropological framework, the problem of political alchemy, in light of the recent, all but completely unanticipated developments in politics, through the prism of the ideas of creative destruction, disruption, and permanent revolution, ideas now promoted by business schools, but originally coined by revolutionary avant-gardes. While being obsessed with equal rights, scrupulous attention to processes and policies, and the rule of law, we still seem desperately in need of destruction in order to go forward and progress. However, by now it seems evident that the idea of moving forward through destruction only leads to the proliferation of the incommensurable, the flux and the void. Mainstream and critical social and political sciences, caught in between rigid institutionalism and obsession with revolutionary change, themselves schismogenic doubles, are incapable of understanding the processes that are being increasingly unleashed upon all of us, entailing the destruction of meaning, even the destruction of nature. Something fundamental is missing at the level of basic concepts, and the aim of this summer school is to offer a perspective from political anthropology, using terms like liminality, imitation, schismogenesis, the spiral and the ‘trickster’, but also gift relations and participation, that could tackle the transformations generated by political alchemy that evidently fall outside the scope of modern critical rationality.

Course leader

Dr Agnes Horvath

Target group

Advanced graduate students of Anthropology, Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Philosophy, History, or other cognate disciplines.

Course aim

The aim of the course is to introduce the central terms of political anthropology in order to deal with the issues discussed in the description of the course theme.

Credits info

5 EC
PhD supervisor approval is required

Fee info

EUR 0: Following even in this sense the spirit of Plato’s Academy, the philosophy of this summer school is to minimize the involvement of the circularity of money in academic life. Thus, the Summer School will only have a small registration fee (45Euro, not refundable), above the IPA membership fee, 25 euro/year. The School will be self-supporting for meal and drinks, which means that we all share cooking and washing dishes, with a donation for accommodation. This can be estimated as 60 euro for the week for accommodation, and about 70 euro for food and drinks.