Streit ums Politische 2017/18: »Raus, auf die Straße.«

Can politics take place on the screen at home? Is the click, posting uninhibited comments on a blog, uploading a photo to Twitter enough? The classical view of the political is that it operates by making a distinction between the private and the public. Something becomes political when private concerns are turned into a public issue. But this does not merely take place in the head. To achieve it, you have to go outside: to the marketplace of the polis, on the streets of the city or in the public square outside the theatre. Outside, you meet others with whom you, at first sight, share little in common. But when you meet in public, a political happening can ensue. Rather than being a separate event taking place in a specific institutional setting, the political instead becomes mixed with the everyday and thus can become the driving force of a collective. Yet what does that mean today when the marketplace of the polis has become a mall, the streets turned into traffic-free zones and squares are now spaces where town planners show off urban design? The political kicks off when bodies and voices meet, out of which an idea of something communal arises. The political taking place outside mixes the deliberation of the citizens with the mutterings of the masses and out of this sometimes emerges a communal cry: »We are the people«, »We want it all!«, »We’re going on an individual strike«. In this way the political can become collective and concrete. However, today such an understanding of political practice must compete with other forms of public assembly: with the spectacle of sporting competitions and pop concerts, with open-air public screenings and the various actions of temporary events in city spaces. These can also become political, but obviously only if some notion of commonality comes into play. What this means, how to do it and what kind of concept of the public sphere develops out of this are the topics which Heinz Bude is discussing over four evenings with his guests Gesa Ziemer, Sylke Tempel, Christoph Menke and Gunnar Hindrichs. Whoever wants to be political must venture out into the world.

Heinz Bude is Professor of Macrosociology at the University of Kassel. He is working on the changes in social inequality and what this means for the self-generated actualities of contemporary societies. In 2014 he published »Gesellschaft der Angst« (»Society of Fear«) and in 2016 »Das Gefühl der Welt. Über die Macht von Stimmungen« (»The Feeling of the World: On the Power of Moods«).