Civil Imagination (Paperback)
A Political Ontology of Photography
Verso, 9781784783037, 288pp.
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Other Editions of This Title:
Through photography, Civil Imagination seeks out relations of partnership, solidarity, and sharing that come into being at the expense of sovereign powers that threaten to destroy them. Azoulay argues that the “civil” must be distinguished from the “political” as the interest that citizens have in themselves, in others, in their shared forms of coexistence, as well as in the world they create and transform. Azoulay’s book sketches out a new horizon of civil living for citizens as well as subjects denied citizenship—inevitable partners in a reality they are invited to imagine anew and to reconstruct.
Beautifully produced with many illustrations, Civil Imagination is a provocative argument for photography as a civic practice capable of reclaiming civil power.
About the Author
Praise For Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography…
—Jonathan Crary, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Columbia University
“This book is a major intervention in the field of political philosophy, visual cultures, photography and architecture. The new ontology of photography developed by Azoulay builds upon, but also decisively challenges, articulated relations between the aesthetic and the political from Kant through Benjamin, Arendt and Rancière. Here, Azoulay uses her theory to suggest an alternative politics based on the re-reading and reinterpretation of photographs of the Nakba in 1948 and of the architecture of the Israeli occupation since 1967. Civil Imagination is nothing less than a proposal for a new form of politics now made ever more relevant throughout the Middle East.”
—Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land and Least of All Possible Evils
“Takes on the state of our contemporary visual culture and takes aim at the many received ideas that march under the banner of ‘art and politics.’”
—The Brooklyn Rail
“Both an extremely demanding text that attempts a new articulation of the category of the ‘civil’ and a sophisticated photographic essay … The result here is a powerful index of catastrophe and a meditation on the effects on both Israeli and Palestinian of an insidious and coercive colonial ideology.”
—John Douglas Millar, Art Monthly
“Civil Imagination acts as a necessary yet cruel reminder that an uncritical relationship with the social idea of photography could easily determine whose life is not worthy of living.”