Philosophy and Social Criticism 43 (7):724-747 (2017)

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of debate re what democratic theory has to say about the boundaries of democratic peoples. Yet the debate over the ‘democratic boundary problem’ has been hindered by the way contributors work with different understandings of democracy, of democratic legitimacy and of what it means to participate in a demos. My argument is that these conceptual issues can be clarified if we recognize that the ‘demos’ constitutive of democracy is essentially dual in character: it must be defined from a third-person, observer’s perspective from which it can be represented as a whole entity; but it must also be seen as arising out of an association of numerous and ongoing second-person relationships that participants negotiate among one another. Both perspectives are essential to conceptualizing the demos, but their relation to each other has been obscured by democratic theory’s historical reliance on the imaginary of the sovereign state. Drawing on literature from deliberative democratic theory, this article reconstructs the concept of the demos in a way that better distinguishes the logic of democracy from the logic of the state, allowing us to think more clearly about how demotic boundaries may be subjected to standards of democratic legitimation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453716658691
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,066
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Democratic Theory and Border Coercion.Arash Abizadeh - 2008 - Political Theory 36 (1):37-65.
Enfranchising All Affected Interests, and its Alternatives.Robert E. Goodin - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (1):40–68.
The Legitimacy of the People.Sofia Näsström - 2007 - Political Theory 35 (5):624-658.
Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments.Arash Abizadeh - 2002 - American Political Science Review 96 (3):495-509.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Demos and its Kin: Nationalism, Democracy, and the Boundary Problem.Arash Abizadeh - 2012 - American Political Science Review 106 (4):867-882.
Sharing Democracy.Michaele L. Ferguson - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Four Dimensions of Democracy.Michael S. Perry - 2015 - Essays in Philosophy 16 (1):3-25.
Defining the Demos.Ben Saunders - 2012 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (3):280-301.
A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy.Joshua Forstenzer - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (1):161-164.
Defending Deliberation: A Comment on Ian Shapiro's The State of Democratic Theory.James Fishkin - 2005 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8 (1):71-78.
Globalizing the Democratic Community.Jens Bartelson - 2008 - Ethics and Global Politics 1 (4):159-174.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #765,829 of 2,498,786 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,542 of 2,498,786 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes