Kairos and Clinamen: Revolutionary Politics and the Common Good

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


This article sets out to offer a new reconceptualisation of the common good as the mechanism providing the temporal coordinates for revolutionary politics. The first section investigates the pairing of commonality and goodness, revealing its nature as a synthesis of apparently irreconcilable opposites. The second section examines how this irreconcilability is overcome, advancing the argument that to heal the divide, a double movement of definition and concealment is necessary, whereby the process of definition of what constitutes the common good is accompanied by an expropriation, or hollowing out, of meaning. The third section offers a proposal for overcoming this epistemological impasse about the nature of the common good, by contrasting chronos and kairós, chronological time and what in English can be translated as ‘opportune time’, and offering kairós as the chance to create, within the fissures of the totalitarianism of chronological time, the timescape for revolutionary politics. This proposal is carried on in the second part of this article, starting with ‘Chronos and Kairós’ section, where the concept of kairós is expanded upon and coupled with the Epicurean and Lucretian idea of the clinamen, the swerve of the atoms that introduces the element of chance against Democritean determinism. With the support of Antonio Negri’s reading of kairós and clinamen, the article argues in ‘Alma Venus: Love, Desire and Revolution’ section that these two concepts provide the spatial and temporal coordinates for revolutionary politics, in tension and critical engagement with Ackerman’s idea of constitutional moments, to conclude in ‘Conclusions: Kairós and Revolutionary Politics’ section, that the common good is to be defined as that which takes place and is identified/identifiable within these coordinates.
ZeitschriftLaw and Critique
Seiten (von - bis)277-294
Anzahl der Seiten18
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2013
Extern publiziertJa