Conflicts on the Threshold of Democratic Orders: A Critical Encounter with Mouffe’s Theory of Agonistic Politics

Jurisprudence 8 (3):532-556 (2017)
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In light of the recent revival of the debate on radical democracy, this paper seeks to show how a critical reappropriation of Chantal Mouffe’s theory of agonistic politics can explain the structure of a conflict-based understanding of democratic orders. In explicit convergence with Mouffe, I argue that a radical democratic project by no means needs to abandon—as many absolute democracy and multitude theorists claim—the modern political paradigm. I also show, diverging from her account, that Mouffe’s defence of a radical democratic project based on pluralism and agonism would have been better served by a critical reception of Arendt’s thinking rather than that of Schmitt. The relevance of this alternative strategy—so I will argue—lies in the fact that it delivers an apt design for a politico-legal order which permits true and proper conflicts, on the one hand, while simultaneously allowing that they be dealt with democratically, on the other.



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References found in this work

The Representative Claim.Michael Saward - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
The Representative Claim.Michael Saward - 2006 - Contemporary Political Theory 5 (3):297-318.
Violence and power: A critique of Hannah Arendt on the `political'.Keith Breen - 2007 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (3):343-372.
The politics of agonism: against D. Villa.Bonnie Honig - 1993 - Political Theory 21 (3):528-533.

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