Ilia Inshakov   1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The concept of messianic time by Walter Benjamin and its political implications

2023, vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 29–47 [issue contents]
Despite Benjamin’s “renaissance” in contemporary research literature, the meaning of the concept of Jetztzeit(“Now-time”), one of his key political and philosophical concepts, remains vague, largely due to the tendency of researchers to follow Benjamin‘s narrative and metaphorical style. The author of this article purposely uses a strict analytical approach to capture the key characteristics of the concept and their relationship to each other. To do this, the concept is analyzed in the first part of the article through the prism of the related concepts of “messianic time” and “kairos time”. In the second part, the author traces the possible political implications of different interpretations of the concept itself and its connection with Benjamin’s concept of “divine violence”, showing that different interpretations lead to diametrically-opposite perceptions of Benjamin’s position, from a supporter of “pure criticism” to an activist of “direct actions”. In conclusion, the significant role of the Benjamin project as an alternative to the “mainstream” of the Frankfurt School (Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer) is pointed out in the context of today’s prospects for the revival of the Marxist political utopia.
Citation: Inshakov I. (2023) Kontseptsiya messianskogo vremeni u Val'tera Ben'yamina i ee politicheskie implikatsii [The concept of messianic time by Walter Benjamin and its political implications]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 1, pp. 29-47 (in Russian)
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