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Beautiful DemocracyAesthetics and Anarchy in a Global Era$
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Russ Castronovo

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226096285

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226096308.001.0001

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Flowers and Billy Clubs The Beauty and Danger of Ethical Citizenship

Flowers and Billy Clubs The Beauty and Danger of Ethical Citizenship

(p.27) 1 Flowers and Billy Clubs The Beauty and Danger of Ethical Citizenship
Beautiful Democracy

Russ Castronovo

University of Chicago Press

If aesthetics are a starting point to ethical citizenship, it is worth remembering that starting points do not necessarily lead to their destinations and that the path from aesthetic perception to democratic sensibility is not always a straight one. Even when links between aesthetics and justice seem secure and predictable, subjects whose emotions and instincts are quickened by beauty often fail to arrive at their moral destinations, their ethical baggage misplaced and their capacity for civic obedience lost along the way. When aesthetics are charged with bearing the burden of representing and cultivating the mass, the people, the proletariat, or any of the various collectivities implied by the looseness of democracy, art and beauty seem that much more rickety, that is, contingent.

Keywords:   aesthetics, ethical citizenship, justice, civic obedience, proletariat, democracy, art, beauty

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