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   suche   steirischer herbst, 24. Oktober - 24. November 2002


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Theo Steiner - abstract
The pale cast of thought? Intellectuals and the idea of practical relevance
 


Ever since 9-11, we have been confronted with a deluge of martial rhetoric: examples include slogans such as “war against civilisation” (the attack on the World Trade Center in New York) or “war against terrorism” (the US American response). By now, this rhetoric is being widely criticised as an example of escalating propaganda and politics. However, critics have also “set their sights” on the anti-Western rhetoric of hatred, that is regarded as a source of inspiration for modern terror.
Compared to the striking force of military machineries, violent NGOs, and propaganda apparatuses, the ambit of influence of intellectual analysis and critique would appear to be extremely small. Is this why intellectuals themselves are wont to employ metaphors of war and dramatising stylistic devices? And why does Ulrich Beck himself, the guiding intellectual force of cosmopolitan ideals, adopt the figure of the barbarian from the realm of war propaganda into his own arguments?