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The paper focuses on the nexus of passions and politics, which has been largely neglected by liberal tradition, and aims to show that at the origins of modern politics there is not only the rational interest of the homo oeconomicus, but a constellation of egoistic passions which can be summarised as the passion of acquiring and the passion of the self. Through the analysis of two models – the hobbesian, which is representative of modernity, and the tocquevillian, which is representative of post-modernity – I argue for the following thesis: from egoistic passions (both from their force, as in Hobbes, and from their weakness, as in Tocqueville) stems a need for order which remains even within the democratic configuration of politics. From the analysis of passions, emerges the order function of politics which characterises more or less manifestly the entire trajectory of modernity. On the basis of such a diagnosis, I propose to look at a different constellation of passions, which I define as sympathetic and which enable to disclose a different function of politics. Such passions revolve around two fundamental poles: communitarian passions or passions for belonging, which can be traced back to the paradigm of recognition, and the disinterested passions or passions for solidarity, which can be traced back to the paradigm of gift.

Elena Pulcini
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