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Staseis and Revolutions in the Political Thought of Aristotle and Hannah Arendt : Discovering remedy to civil strife

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Title: Staseis and Revolutions in the Political Thought of Aristotle and Hannah Arendt : Discovering remedy to civil strife
Author(s): Peltonen, Aada
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies
Specialisation: Social Sciences Study Track
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2021
In my thesis, I examine Aristotle’s theory of stasis and Hannah Arendt’s notion of revolutions. I argue that while Arendt distinguishes her theory from stasis, it is inherently interconnected to it in five ways. First, both philosophers see the unequal distribution of power as foremost reason for civil strife. Second, I argue that they held that the distribution of wealth, while a problematic, should be dealt with within the society pre-politically, otherwise it becomes an issue of politics. Third, a certain feeling of unity through political friendship and homonoia is eminent for the society to stay stable. Fourth, the pivotality of laws safeguards the regime from tyrannical democracy driven through demagoguery. Last, my overarching argument in the thesis is that Aristotle and Arendt solve the issue of revolutions through a mixed regime, following the classical republican tradition. The interconnectedness of the two theories reveals not only the connection of political disorder and constitutional change, but also the importance of correct constitution to counter factionalism and demagoguery. The concluding remarks made in my thesis advance the discussion on the profound question of contemporary societies’ factionalism and populism. While often viewed problematic, the discussion provided by the theoretical framework of Aristotle and Hannah Arendt comes to show that the mixed governmental system of contemporary democracy, is built to counter specifically questions regarding factionalism, demagoguery, and the discontent towards distribution of justice.

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