Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Negativity , together with cognate words such as the negative or negation , is a common term in political theory, but it remains an elusive concept. The paradox of the negative is that it is, in principle, averse to definition or identification because this would render it fixed, positive. Sometimes used casually to describe a state of mind or attitude, it also has profound significance within certain philosophical traditions. Negativity is especially crucial for critical approaches and in particular for dialectics, where it received its most elaborate development in the philosophies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. In the twentieth century, negative thinking is perhaps most associated with the Frankfurt School, but existential phenomenology is also important in locating negativity ontologically. The terminology of the negative has subsequently been eschewed by poststructuralists, deconstructionists, and vitalists, who instead espouse affirmation, creativity, and difference. It is these three approaches to ...