Power and Self-Cultivation: Aesthetics, Development Ethics and the Calling of Poverty A K G Madras Institute of Development Studies In this paper, I explore the ideal of self-cultivation as it confronts the holders of power and our practice and understanding of ethics and aesthetics. I begin with the ﬁ eld of social development as an illustrative case of ﬁ eld of power that is in urgent need of a recon- structive and transformative practice of self-development. I take the ethical deliberations in the ﬁ eld of development, that is, development ethics as an exemplar of ethical re ﬂ ection today, and look at aesthetics through the contemporary quest of and re ﬂ ections on self- cultivation. Then, I discuss the challenge of recognizing the face of the other that the rad- ical alterity of poverty presents to the quest for freedom, exercise of power and the ideal of self-cultivation. Through a dialogue with the face of the other, I wish in this paper to move from a self-congratulatory view of freedom as an assertion of one’s rights to the terrain of what Emmanuel Levinas calls “di ﬃ cult freedom”, and reiterate the imperative of responsibility
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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