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Politics and Time

Michael J. Shapiro

ISBN: 978-1-509-50780-1 July 2016 Polity 208 Pages


Catastrophic events like the bombing of Hiroshima, Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, and drone strikes periodically achieve renewed political significance as subsequent developments summon them back to public awareness. But why and how do different conceptions of time inform and challenge these key events and the narratives they create?
In this book, Michael J. Shapiro provides an approach to politics and time that unsettles official collective histories by introducing analyses of lived experience articulated in cinematic, televisual, musical, and literary genres. His investigation is framed by questions of our responsibility to acknowledge those victims of violence and catastrophe who have failed to rise above the threshold of public recognition. Ultimately, by focusing on time as an active force shaping our conception of political life, we can deepen our understanding of complex political dynamics and improve the theories and methods we rely on to interpret them.
This bold and original book will be of interest to students and scholars of political theory, cultural studies and cinema studies looking for a new perspective on the temporal aspects of political life.

Chapter 1: Critical Temporalities: Thinking the Event
Chapter 2: Hiroshima Temporalities
Chapter 3: Hurricane Katrina’s Bio-Temporalities
Chapter 4: Keeping Time: The Rhythms of Work and the Arts of Resistance
Chapter 5: “Fictions of Time” : Necro-Biographies

“Dashiell Hammett once said we must remember that the events we grow tired of hearing about are real to those who are their subjects. In this excellent book, Michael Shapiro stops us being tired, shows how we can continue to pay attention, and why it matters.”
Keith Tester, LaTrobe University

“Indefatigable in his pursuit of the lived experience of time, Shapiro’s symphony of a text engages cinema, literature, music, and art to take us to the heart of political life. Reckoning with the competing temporalities of contemporary life is crucial to understanding the political stakes at hand: Michael Shapiro’s work is indispensable for the task.”
Caroline Holmqvist, Université libre de Bruxelles