cover of book

Curiosity and Power: The Politics of Inquiry
by Perry Zurn
University of Minnesota Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-5179-0718-1 | Paper: 978-1-5179-0719-8
Library of Congress Classification HM881.Z87 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.484


A trailblazing exploration of the political stakes of curiosity

Curiosity is political. Who is curious, when, and how reflects the social values and power structures of a given society. In Curiosity and Power, Perry Zurn explores the political philosophy of curiosity, staking the groundbreaking claim that it is a social force—the heartbeat of political resistance and a critical factor in social justice. He argues that the very scaffolding of curiosity is the product of political architectures, and exploring these values and architectures is crucial if we are to better understand, and more ethically navigate, the struggle over inquiry in an unequal world. 

Curiosity and Power explores curiosity through the lens of political philosophy—weaving in Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida in doing so—and the experience of political marginalization, demonstrating that curiosity is implicated equally in the maintenance of societies and in their transformation. Curiosity plays as central a role in establishing social institutions and fields of inquiry as it does in their deconstruction and in building new forms of political community. Understanding curiosity is critical to understanding politics, and understanding politics is critical to understanding curiosity. 

Drawing not only on philosophy and political theory but also on feminist theory, race theory, disability studies, and trans studies, Curiosity and Power tracks curiosity in the structures of political marginalization and resistance—from the Civil Rights Movement to building better social relationships. Curiosity and Power insists that the power of curiosity be recognized and engaged responsibly.

See other books on: Curiosity | Inquiry | Political participation | Social movements | Zurn, Perry
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