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Title: Struggling with time: A Rousseauian caution to the politics of becoming
Authors: Wong, M. 
Keywords: becoming
Issue Date: May-2012
Citation: Wong, M. (2012-05). Struggling with time: A Rousseauian caution to the politics of becoming. Contemporary Political Theory 11 (2) : 172-191. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This article positions Rousseau within contemporary political theory's current engagements with nonlinear, non-teleological accounts of time. Although these seek to widen the pluralistic possibilities of politics through an affirmation of an irreducible future, I contend that, insofar as it speaks to our existential desire for coherency and continuity, the present is equally crucial to politics. Beyond his elaborations on history, Rousseau, I show, offers an account of time as dynamic and contingent. Amid such conditions, a unified existence is fundamental to survival. Yet, given that life is marked by a passing time, such a unity can never be fully secured. Rousseau's writings thus highlight the tension between the desire for temporal unity on the one hand, and the differentiated nature of our temporal lives on the other. I take this tension to be a useful qualification to the current discussions of time and argue that an attention to the present is as vital, if not more, to the pursuits of pluralism. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Source Title: Contemporary Political Theory
ISSN: 14708914
DOI: 10.1057/cpt.2011.16
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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