ISBN is

978-1-85984-279-9 / 9781859842799

The Democratic Paradox

by

Publisher:Verso

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

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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