The return of the Janus-faced cliché

In an earlier post, I scoffed at the academic cliche ‘Janus-faced’. This over-used phrase is largely empty: nearly everything points in different directions. I could get ‘Janus-faced’ into the title of every article and book chapter I have written. Here’s the proof:

  • ‘The Janus face of Hobbesian passions’ – Hobbes says that passions can lead us to make good choices or bad choices.
  • ‘Anti-Janus-faced-Strauss’ – Leo Strauss seems to argue that some people wrote esoterically, but might just be using this as a guide to his own esotericism.
  • ‘Janus-faced uncertainty and the history of ideas’ – uncertainty is both objective and subjective.
  • ‘Rationality and deliberative democracy: a constructive critique of John Dryzek’s Janus-faced democratic theory’ – the real basis of Dryzek’s democratic theory does not imply what he thinks.
  • ‘Hobbes on Janus-faced corruption’ – Hobbes shows that corrupt acts can benefit people in the short-term but not in the long-term.
  • ‘The Janus face of party systems’ – we get different conclusions depending on how we quantify aspects of party systems.
  • ‘Against positive and negative freedom: Isaiah Berlin’s Janus face’ – Berlin says one thing but does another.
  • ‘The Janus face of the British electoral system’ – first-past-the-post’s very strengths could undermine it.
  • ‘The Janus face of fairness and electoral reform’ – different definitions of fairness lead to different conclusions about electoral reform.

Have you ever published anything where you couldn’t get ‘Janus-faced’ into the title? If so, say below.

Or, add your own favourite ‘Janus-faced’ publications, e.g.:

  • Horkheimer and Adorno, Janus-Faced Enlightenment
  • Isaiah Berlin, ‘Janus-faced liberty’
  • Marx, Janus-Gesicht Kapital
  • Robert Putnam, The Janus Face of Italian Democracy
  • David Mayhew, Janus-Faced American Government
  • Plato, Republic: One And a Half Janus Faces of the Soul and the City
  • Paul Kennedy, The Janus Face of the Great Powers
  • Emile Durkheim, The Janus Face of Labour in Society
  • John Rawls, A Theory of Janus
  • Marcuse, Semi-Janus-Faced Man
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1 Comment

  1. Academic clichés, part 1: Janus-faced | BlauBlog

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