Journal article

Poe, Andrew. (2018). Enthusiasm. Krisis. 2018(2), pp. 46-49.
AuthorsPoe, Andrew

[Extract] Enthusiasm, an affect once associated with abstraction and testimony to divine inspiration, has its origins in religious experience.1 In the long history of this Western phenomenon, it was generally thought that the only real measure of humanity’s access to divinity could be confirmed by the expression of something named “enthusiasm.” Over time a series of religious reformations coupled with modern social and political enlightenments, transformed enthusiasm from a religious affect into a political danger. And, by the end of the 18th century, enthusiasm seemed to have become a centerpiece of revolutionary, rather than religious, life.2

Because of this complicated admixture of religious and revolutionary potencies, we should not be surprised that Marx struggled to orient himself to the concept of enthusiasm. If capital’s power manifests itself in abstractions that re-disguise materiality, enthusiasm might appear as a significant resource for capitalism, generating new pathways for novelty (Toscano 2008). But, as I hope to illustrate, Marx’s language on enthusiasm shifts, specifically from Enthusiasmus to Begeisterung, tracing Marx’s changing thinking on the communist revolution, as well as the religious imaginary. Following this shift, we see an opening for a new modality of enthusiasm that can be deployed against capitalism and towards collective agency, in the form of a revolutionary occupation.

Journal citation2018 (2), pp. 46-49
PublisherBoom Uitgevers Amsterdam
Web address (URL)https://archive.krisis.eu/enthusiasm/
Open accessOpen access
Page range46-49
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Deposited05 Jul 2023
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