Walter Benjamin and the "Tradition of the Oppressed"

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February 5, 2015

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Sami Khatib, « Walter Benjamin and the "Tradition of the Oppressed" », Anthropological materialism, ID : 10670/1.l7zad6


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Thesis IX of "Über den Begriff der Geschichte," Hannah Arendt manuscript, Walter Benjamin Archiv Berlin, Ms 466r; a reedited version of this thesis later became thesis XII.  In his influential essay “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific,” Friedrich Engels (1880) deemed tradition “a great retarding force,” “the vis inertiae of history.” This negative view became the dominant version of historical materialism’s take on tradition. In his last “Theses On the Concept of History” (1940), Benjamin prop...

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