Creating the People as ‘One’?

On Democracy and Its Other

in Theoria
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  • 1 Federal University nunesdacosta77@gmail.com
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Abstract

It is common sense today to say that ‘democracy is in crisis’. This apparently obvious crisis of democracy has several aspects: it is a crisis of its representative dimensions; it is a crisis that exposes the tensions and intrinsic contradictions between the political and the economic and financial orders; but it is also a crisis that begins to question the actual future of democracy, announcing the possibility that democracy may be replaced by something else for which we don’t have a name yet. In this article I start by looking at the modern (re) invention of democracy, trying to grasp the ways in which ‘the people’ has been theorised. After, I look at the challenges Europe is facing today, mainly in what concerns the economic and financial crises on the one hand, and the refugees and humanitarian crises on the other. I conclude by showing how and why democracy can only be defined as ‘crisis’ and why ‘the people’ must remain simultaneously invisible and un-bodied, in order to fight current populist threats.

Contributor Notes

Marta Nunes Da Costa is currently a Visiting Professor at Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She is currently developing new work on participatory mechanisms in contemporary democracies. Some of her books are Redefining Individuality (Humus Ed, 2011); Modelos Democráticos (Arraes Ed., 2013); and Orçamento Participativo: Leituras comparadas entre Brasil e Portugal (Observatório Político Ed., 2013).

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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