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Hollie MacKenzie and Iain MacKanzie

In this article we focus on the potential for an alignment of certain feminist artistic practices and poststructuralist conceptions of critique that may enable ways of theorizing practices of resistance and engender ways of practicing resistance in theory, without the lurch back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. It will be claimed that an ontological conception of art, considered as that which makes a difference in the world, can not only challenge the primacy of the dogmatic and masculine ‘subject who judges’, but also instill ways of thinking about, and ways of enacting, feminist artistic encounters with the capacity to resist dogmatism. The theoretical stakes of this claim are elaborated through complimentary readings of Deleuze and Guattari’s constructivist account of philosophy and Irigaray’s feminist explorations of what it means to think from within the 'labial', rather than from the position of the dominant phallic symbolic order. We argue that this creative conjunction between Irigaray, Deleuze, and Guattari provides the resources for a conceptualisation of both feminist artistic practice and the critical practice of poststructuralist philosophy as forms of resistance to the dominant patriarchal order, in ways that can avoid the collapse back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. Revel’s discussion of the role of constituent rather than constituted forms of resistance is employed to draw out the implications of this position for contentious politics. It is concluded that constituent practices of resistance can be understood as a challenge to the phallogocentric symbolic order to the extent that they are practices of a labial art-politics.

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Riccardo Bavaj

The student revolt of the late 1960s had far-reaching repercussions in large parts of West German academia. This article sheds light on the group of liberal scholars who enjoyed a relative cohesiveness prior to "1968" and split up in the wake of the student revolt. The case of Kurt Sontheimer (1928-2005) offers an instructive example of the multifaceted process of a "liberal critic" turning into a liberal-conservative. While he initially welcomed the politicization of students and the democratization of universities, he became increasingly concerned about the stability of West Germany's political order and placed more and more emphasis on preserving, rather than changing the status quo. Sontheimer was a prime example of a liberal critic shifting and being shifted to the center-Right within a political culture that became increasingly polarized during the 1970s.

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Wade Jacoby

This article offers a corrective to the notion that German ordoliberal ideology is the key to understanding German policy behavior during the Eurocrisis and, by extension, to the contours of the electoral debate in fall 2013. First, it shows that ordoliberal thought underdetermines policy choices. That is, different actors clearly influenced by ordoliberal thinking and often stressing different aspects of the broader ordoliberal cannon are arguing for more or less diametrically opposed policy solutions. Second, the article provides evidence that this deep divide inside the ordoliberal policy community has contributed additional incentives to the tentative and inconclusive policy choices of the government throughout much of the Eurocrisis. Third, the article extends the analysis of this very cautious policymaking into the campaign phase and the subsequent coalition agreement. It explains why the two major German parties—including an SPD with a much thinner attachment than the CDU to ordoliberalism—sought to play down the Eurocrisis in their campaigns and in their subsequent coalition agreement. One implication is the low probability of German policy change despite ideological differences.

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Kjetil Børhaug

Declining adolescent political participation means that political education has become a pressing public and political issue. In response, much attention is being paid to the way in which political education offers meaningful reasons for individual political participation. Critical textbook analysis may help us understand how political education affects participation. To what extent do textbooks explicitly present justifications for political participation? What kinds of justification are offered? This article analyzes Norwegian social studies textbooks, and concludes that justifications of adolescent political participation are central. Justifications include the individual pursuit of preferences, individual duty in a "contract" with the state, and identities. However, these justifications are also questionable, for they are generally either individualistic or avoid real political movements.

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Previous editions of Italian Politics

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What is “Political” Participation

Beyond Explicit Motivations and Oppositional Actions

Sadiya Akram and David Marsh

Wood and Flinders re-center political participation on the idea of “nexus politics.” The effort is laudable because it contributes to other ongoing efforts at broadening our understanding of the nature of ‘political’ participation. Unfortunately, in our view, the authors misspecify new forms of political participation that have emerged by: (1) failing to take Henrik Bang’s work seriously; (2) focusing exclusively on motivation/intention, so that an action is “political,” only if the person acting sees it as “political”; (3) seeing all political participation as necessarily oppositional.

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The “Democracy-Politics Paradox”

The Dynamics of Political Alienation

Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

Contemporary political scientists have observed a democratic paradox that has crystallized around the disconnection between how citizens imagine their democracy and how politics is practiced. Citizens continue to believe in the values of liberal democracy but are increasingly disillusioned with how their political systems work and the politics that are practiced in the name of democracy. This article revisits the root causes of political alienation to better understand this democratic paradox. It provides both a conceptual understanding of political alienation and its domain of action and insights into how the concept can be operationalized and measured in empirical research. It argues that while democracy itself may not be in crisis, the politics on which its operation rests is in peril.

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Lawrence Hamilton

I make two main points in response to the two great articles on my book Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (FIP) published in this issue of Theoria. First, I assess the power of ideas, especially vis-à-vis the important imperative to decolonise knowledge production, taking on board much of Boisen and Murray’s arguments while qualifying their tendency to overstate the case for the power of ideas. I then comment on Allsobrook’s criticism of my attempt in FIP to marry Foucault’s view of power with my genealogical account of needs. I take on board his main concern and then argue – all too briefly – that his alternative ‘rights recognition thesis’ fails to escape his own critique of my needs-based view of freedom as power aimed at overcoming domination.

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Political Theory and Political Science

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Terence Ball

The too-often unhappy 'marriage' of political theory and political science has long been a source of anguish for both partners. Should this troubled partnership be dissolved? Or might this marriage yet be saved? Ball answers the former question negatively and the latter affirmatively. Playing the part of therapist instead of theorist, he selectively recounts a number of episodes which estranged the partners and strained the marriage. And yet, he concludes that the conflicts were in hindsight more constructive than destructive, benefiting both partners in heretofore unexpected ways and perhaps paving a path toward reconciliation and rapprochement.

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Christine Hobden

Citizens increasingly engage with political issues in new ways by addressing politicians via social media, campaigning at international forums, or boycotting corporate entities. These forms of engagement move beyond more regulated electoral politics and are rightly celebrated for the ways they increase representation and provide new channels of accountability. Yet, despite these virtues, political engagement beyond voting inevitably tends to entrench and amplify inequality in citizen influence on political decision-making. The tendency toward inequality undermines relational equality between citizens and muddies the channels of political accountability and responsibility. This article unpacks the ostensible tension and argues that it reveals to us another strength in views which hold the state to be citizens’ collective project and provides argumentative resources to motivate democracies to give due attention to ensuring that democratic participatory channels remain fit for purpose in an ever-changing society.