Nonviolence as Impure Praxis – Reconstructing the Concept with Aldo Capitini
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I am planning to publish my thesis
This thesis aims to ‘reconstruct’ the concept of nonviolence, offering a new unifying and pluralistic definition, which rejects recent worrying uses of the term, and is able to deal with the crisis of democracy and the construction of a post-secular society. Currently nonviolence is split in two between principled and pragmatic nonviolence. This division has been successful, but it is now a problem: it divides means and ends, politics and morality, religion and politics. In order to find a way out we will turn to the Italian philosopher Aldo Capitini. He interpreted nonviolence as a tension, a praxis of liberation from the chains of reality and openness to the existent. This approach includes a pragmatic dimension, which is a logic reinterpreting current practices and inventing new ones to build up via facti a new society (omnicracy); and a principled dimension, which is a craft of integrating reality with values, reaching its peak in the connection with everybody in an action of value (compresence). This approach offers actions of protest-to-project to overcome the division between means and ends; a political approach between ‘realism and serenity’ to overcome the division between politics and morality; an open religion which can work at the centre of society and politics. Finally, we will extend Capitini’s reflection claiming that nonviolence as praxis is a non-systematic revolutionary approach aiming at freedom and plurality. We will add that this praxis is impure, because made of less than perfect actions performed in a very imperfect environment by imperfect human beings. Reconceiving nonviolence as impure praxis will allow us to reunite principled and pragmatic nonviolence, reinterpreting the former as actualisation of a public principle and the latter as a phronesis. This interpretation will offer an interesting form of transformative realism, which enriches via facti any democratic order with life, and show the way to overcome the secular divisions towards a post-secular society centred on the Assisi presumption.
PhD in Politics