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Gustavo H. Dalaqua

Abstract

This article seeks to contribute to the debate on how political representation can promote democracy by analysing the Chamber in the Square, which is a component of legislative theatre. A set of techniques devised to democratise representative governments, legislative theatre was created by Augusto Boal when he was elected a political representative in 1993. After briefly reviewing Nadia Urbinati's understanding of democratic representation as a diarchy of will and judgement, I partially endorse Hélène Landemore's criticism and contend that if representation is to be democratic, citizens’ exchange of opinions in the public sphere should be invested with the power not only to judge but also to decide political affairs. By opening up a space where the represented can judge, decide, and contest the general terms of the bills representatives present in the assembly, the Chamber in the Square harnesses political representation to democracy.

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The Future of Representative Politics

On Tormey, Krastev and Rosanvallon

Mihail Evans

Abstract

This paper examines claims made about political representation in recent work on global protest, focusing on two very different authors. Tormey champions the anti-representative claims of various radical movements while Krastev assumes the stance of those political insiders who deplore the failure of protesters to work within established representative institutions. Both turn to examples which seem to best support their positions. Tormey to anarchist inspired movements in Spain and Mexico, his argument being that political representation has been succeed by what he variously calls ‘immediate representation’ and ‘resonance’. Krastev's focus is Russia, Thailand and Bulgaria. His argument is that protest in these countries can be seen are ‘a collective act of exit’ by middle classes that no longer seek political representation. Using the theorisation of political representation in Rosanvallon's Counter Democracy, I suggest that the global waves of protest of recent years are nothing inherently novel but can be seen as part of the elaborate and complex process of representation that is argued to have always existed beyond and outside of official elected legislative bodies. In conclusion, I suggest that Macron's turn to citizen's assemblies can be seen as informed by just such an understanding of political representation.

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A Negative Theory of Justice

Towards a Critical Theory of Power Relations

Leonard Mazzone

Abstract

This article outlines the chief challenges concerning the philosophical theories of emancipation and clarifies the solutions provided by a so-called negative theory of justice. Besides highlighting the classic questions that every philosophical theory of emancipation is expected to answer, the article aims to highlight the link between this theoretical framework and an immanent critique of conditions of domination. Moreover, it sheds light on the main differences between this theoretical perspective and Honneth's theory of recognition, Fraser's three-dimensional conception of justice, and the critique of power relations recently advanced by Rainer Forst. The comparative analysis of these theoretical approaches will make it possible to highlight and appreciate the main merits of a so-called negative theory of justice that combines a multidimensional diagnosis of existing asymmetries of power with an immanent critique of their justifications.

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Against Analogy

Why Analogical Arguments in Support of Workplace Democracy Must Necessarily Fail

Roberto Frega

Abstract

This article asks whether the analogy between state and firm is a promising strategy for promoting workplace democracy and provides a negative answer, explaining why analogical arguments are not a good strategy for justifying workplace democracy. The article contends that the state-firm analogy is misguided for at least three reasons: (1) it is structurally inconclusive, (2) it is based on a category mistake, and (3) it leads us away from the central question we should ask, which is: What would concretely imply, and what is required, in order to democratize the workplace? I begin by offering an interpretation of the state-firm analogy which shows that use of the analogical argument in Dahl's justification of workplace democracy engenders excessive and unnecessary theoretical costs which bear negatively on his conclusion. I then proceed to examine more recent contributions to the debate and show that supporters and critics of the state-firm analogy alike do not advance our understanding of the analogical argument. In the last part of the article I provide a general theoretical explanation of why arguments based on the state-firm analogy are not good candidates for defending workplace democracy.

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Christian Ewert

Joseph Lacey, Centripetal Democracy: Democratic Legitimacy and Political Identity in Belgium, Switzerland, and the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 312 pp., ISBN: 9780198796886

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Book Reviews

On 20th Century Revolutionary Socialism, from Poland to Peru and beyond

Jean-Numa Ducange, Camila Vergara, Talat Ahmed, and Christian Høgsbjerg

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Alexander Weiss

Abstract

This article sketches a theoretical framework and research agenda for what is labeled as “Comparative Democratic Theory.” It is introduced as an approach to democratic theory which is informed by conceptual and methodological debates from “Comparative Political Theory” (CPT) as well as from insights from a global history of democratic thought. The inclusion of CPT perspectives into democratic theory is motivated by what is diagnosed as a conceptual blindness in Western democratic theory. When following this approach, however, the two extremes of unjustified universalism and normatively problematic relativism both must be avoided. To do so, a mode of sound abstraction is proposed, using the term “constellation,” and a discussion of aims and benefits of Comparative Democratic Theory is presented.

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Decolonising Borders

Re-imagining Strangeness and Spaces

John Sodiq Sanni

Abstract

This paper seeks to address the problem of strangeness within the context of migration in Africa. I draw on historical realities that inform existing international and African discourses on migration. I hope to show that most African countries have unconsciously bought into international arguments that drive the legitimacy of building walls, visible and invisible, and the promotion of stringent migration policies that minimise the influx of African immigrants. I draw on political and philosophical positions of African thinkers like Kwame Nkrumah, among others, in my theorisation of strangeness and the need to dispel the potential negative conception of strangeness within Africa's migration policies. I juxtapose these positions with Western political theories with the hope of emphasizing African humanism as a key conception worth considering when decolonising borders.

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Jean-Paul Gagnon

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Samuel Moyn and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Interview in Brief

Samuel Moyn provides insight into how the history of democracy can continue its globalization. There is a growing belief that the currently acceptable fund of ideas has not served the recent past well which is why an expansion, a planetary one, of democracy's ideas is necessary – especially now as we move deeper into the shadow of declining American/Western imperialism and ideology. Deciding which of democracy's intellectual traditions to privilege is driven by a mix of forced necessity and choice: finding salient ground for democracy is likely only possible in poisoned traditions including European ones.