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Mourning in AmericaRace and the Politics of Loss$
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David W. McIvor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704956

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704956.001.0001

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The Imaginary City

The Imaginary City

Consensual Mourning from Pericles to John Rawls

(p.66) 3 The Imaginary City
Mourning in America

David W. McIvor

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that a Periclean politics of mourning—like the Antigonean politics described in Chapter 2—is shadowed by political-psychological dangers that must be understood if collectivities are to move toward more democratic forms of mourning. These dangers include an uncritical, patriotic attachment to the state and a befogged romanticism about its history and traditions. These political pathologies stem in part from psychological tendencies described by Melanie Klein. The chapter begins with a description of the Periclean mode of mourning and shows how it triggers paranoid-schizoid defenses that have significant consequences for public life. It then turns to the work of Rawls, detailing aspects of the critical race and agonist critiques against Rawls insofar as each echoes Socrates' critique of Pericles.

Keywords:   Periclean politics, mourning, Melanie Klein, John Rawls, Pericles

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