The Democratic Paradox
Verso, 2000 - 143 páginas
From the theory of "deliberative democracy" to the politics of the "third way," the present Zeitgeist is characterised by an attempt to negate the inherently conflictual nature of democratic politics. Political thought and practice are stifled by a misconceived search fro consensus and the promotion of a bland social unanimity which, as Chantal Mouffe shows, far from being the sign of progress, constitute a serious threat for democratic institutions. Indeed, in many countries this 'consensus of the centre' is providing a platform for the growth of populist right-wing parties which, by presenting themselves as the only 'anti-establishment' forces, are trying to occupy the terrain of contestation deserted by the left.
Taking issue with the work of John Rawls and Jurgen Habermas on one side, and with the tenets of the third way as practised by Tony Blair and theorised by Anthony Giddens on the other, Mouffe brings to the fore the paradoxical nature of modern liberal democracy. Against those who affirm that, with the demise of the left/right divide, antagonism has been eliminated from contemporary post-industrial societies and that an all-inclusive politics has become possible, she argues that the category of the 'adversary' plays a central role in the very dynamics of modern democracy. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein and Derrida, and engaging with the provocative theses of Carl Schmitt, she proposes a new understanding of democracy in terms of 'agonistic pluralism' which acknowledges the ineradicability of antagonism and the impossibility of a final resolution of conflicts.
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acknowledge adversary advocated agonistic pluralism agreement antagonism approach argue argument articulation Benhabib Carl Schmitt central Chantal Mouffe citizens citizenship common conflict constitutive cratic critique crucial decisions deliberation deliberative democracy deliberative model democ democracy requires democratic institutions democratic politics democratic society demos Derrida dimension discourse eliminated entails envisage equality Ernesto Laclau establish ethics exclusion exist fact framework frontier globalization grasp Habermas Habermasian hegemony homogeneity human Ibid idea ideal identity important ineradicable interests issue John Rawls language-games left/right legitimacy legitimate liberal democracy liberal-democratic liberties logic Ludwig Wittgenstein model of democracy modern democracy moral nature neo-liberal overlapping consensus paradox perspective pluralism of values pluralist democracy political liberalism political theory popular sovereignty possible principles problem procedures public sphere question racy rational consensus rationalist Rawls's realization reason regime Richard Rorty rule Seyla Benhabib social democracy specific tension theorists tion traditional understanding unity Wittgenstein
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