Skip to main content

Arendt’s ‘Conscious Pariah’ and the Ambiguous Figure of the Subaltern

Ray, Larry, Diemling, Maria (2016) Arendt’s ‘Conscious Pariah’ and the Ambiguous Figure of the Subaltern. European Journal of Social Theory, 19 (4). pp. 503-520. ISSN 1368-4310. E-ISSN 1461-7137. (doi:10.1177/1368431016628261) (KAR id:53565)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of Conscious pariah Arendt-FINALcorrected.pdf]
Request a format suitable for use with assistive technology e.g. a screenreader
PDF Pre-print
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
[thumbnail of Conscious Pariah Arendt-authors copy.pdf]
Official URL:


Hannah Arendt’s Jewish writings were central to her thinking about the human condition and engaged with dialectics of modernity, universalism and identity. Her concept of the ‘conscious pariah’ attempted both to define a role for the public intellectual and understand the relationship between Jews and modernity. Controversially she accused Jews of lack resistance to the Nazis and argued that their victimization resulted from apolitical ‘worldlessness’. We argue that although Arendt’s analysis was original and challenging, her characterization of Jewish history as one of ‘powerlessness’ is exaggerated but, more importantly, her underdeveloped concept of ‘the social’ is insensitive to the complex modalities of resistance and consciousness among subaltern Jewish communities. Further, her lack of interest in religious observance obscures the importance of Judaism as a resource for resistance. This is illustrated by ‘hidden transcripts’ of Jewish resistance from the early modern period.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1368431016628261
Uncontrolled keywords: Arendt, conscious pariah, Judaism, powerlessness, resistance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Laurence Ray
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2016 14:40 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.