Categorical Imperative

  • Anne Muxel
Part of the Europe in Transition: The Nyu European Studies Series book series (EIT)


A well-known historian remembers how, at the beginning of the 1950s when she was a young normalienne1 and a Communist, she talked with a girlfriend about meeting boys. Her girlfriend wanted to introduce her to a brilliant young student who, moreover would become her husband some years later, and her first question was: “Is he a (Communist) comrade?” It didn’t matter to her whether he was good-looking, attractive, nice, and so on. For her, it was absolutely imperative above anything else that they share the same political cause and belong to the same activist background. At that time, for Communists, it was simply unthinkable to become involved in a romantic relationship with someone who was not a Communist. Things have undoubtedly changed since then, even among Communists. However, political agreement as an imperative, as a condition for a personal relationship to take place is still a widespread figure in left-wing circles. A great number of those who cannot abide divergence of opinions and ideological disagreement and who exclude their political adversaries from the private part of their lives would recognize themselves in this. One does not make a pact with the devil! The imperative is categorical in the sense Kant gives to the word. It is unconditional and does not tolerate compromise.


Romantic Relationship Political Culture Mutual Recognition Categorical Imperative Private Part 
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  1. 2.
    Julia Kristeva, Tales of Love (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), p. 6.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Sophie Maurer, Asthmes (Paris: Le Seuil, 2007), pp. 67–68.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2014

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  • Anne Muxel

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