By Giorgio Agamben
"Is it significant to name oneself a democrat? And if this is the case, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this query, 8 iconoclastic thinkers turn out the wealthy capability of democracy, besides its severe weaknesses, and reconceive the perform to house new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben lines the demanding historical past of constitutions and their coexistence with a number of governments. Alain Badiou contrasts present democratic perform with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, whereas Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society lower than neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the adaptation among democracy as a sort of rule and as a human finish, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships inside of democratic perform, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the excellence among those that wish to personal the country and those that desire to do with out it.Concentrating at the classical roots of democracy and its altering which means over the years and inside of assorted contexts, those essays uniquely guard what's left of the left-wing culture after the autumn of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to energetic democratic participation that experience triggered voter turnout to say no in western nations, and so they handle electoral indifference through invoking and reviving the culture of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically wealthy, this assortment speaks to all aspects of contemporary political and democratic debate.
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Additional resources for Democracy in What State? (New Directions in Critical Theory)
Such expressions as the extinction or withering away (of the State) imply a process; like "permanent revolution," they place the emphasis on the link between act and duration. " Certain "central functions" must continue to exist, but as public functions under popular control. Thus the withering away of the State does not signify the withering away of politics or the extinction of it through the simple rational management of society. It can just as well signify the extension of the domain of political struggle through the debureaucratization of institutions and permanent deliberation on public matters.
The refusal of profane politics, with its impurities, uncertainties, and wobbly conventions, leads ineluctably back to theology and its jumble of graces, miracles, revelations, repentances, and pardons. Illusory flights from the sordidness of politics actually perpetuate impotence. Instead of pretending to wriggle out of the contradiction between unconditional principles and the conditionality of practical living, politics means taking a stand there and working to surmount it without ever suppressing it.
Hence the enigma, insoluble in the terms posed by Rosanvallon, of a democracy without quality for humans without qualities: how could a politics without classes be anything but a politics without politics? The narrowed temporal horizon of a present huddled over itself entails the annihilation of politics as strategic rationality, to the sole profit of instrumental and managerial rationality No surprise, then, that Rosanvallon looks to an enlarged role for appointive as opposed to elective office and a proliferation of "independent authorities" as crutches for the tottering legitimacy of the vote.