Democracy in what State?
Columbia University Press, 2011 - 130 pages
"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"
In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Ranci re highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it.
Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - brleach - LibraryThing
Like many anthologies, this one contains some essays that are excellent and others that are not so great. Still, it gets four stars because the chapter by Brown articulated the problem area so clearly ... Read full review
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Alain Badiou Aristide Arthur Rimbaud bourgeois bureaucratic capitalism capitalist Claude Lefort communism communist constitution critical critique Daniel Bensaïd de-democratizing demo democ democracy’s democratic democratic emblem Démocratie dictatorship domination economic elections emancipation entails equality existence Fabrique force form of government freedom French giorgio agamben Giscard global Haiti human institutions Irish Jacques Rancière Jean-Luc Nancy kyrion Lefort legitimacy liberal liberal democracy liberty logic majority Marx meaning ment mocracy modern neoliberal never oligarchy organization Paris philosophy Plato poem poli politeia political parties popular possible principle problem proletariat racy radical rage regime rejected representation Republic revolution revote Rimbaud Rosanvallon Rousseau rule Sarkozy sense signify Slavoj Žižek social society sover sovereign sovereignty sphere Stalin struggle term things thought tics tion today’s totalitarianism translation truth universal Valéry Giscard d’Estaing violence vote Wendy Brown Western word democracy