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Maša Mrovlje and Jennet Kirkpatrick

‘Grey Zones of Resistance and Contemporary Political Theory’, which took place at the 2019 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Maša Mrovlje organised the panel, and Jennet Kirkpatrick acted as discussant. We are

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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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Christian Fuchs and John Collier

Economic logic impinges on contemporary political theory through both economic reductionism and economic methodology applied to political decision-making (through game theory). The authors argue that the sort of models used are based on mechanistic and linear methodologies that have now been found wanting in physics. They further argue that complexity based self-organization methods are better suited to model the complexities of economy and polity and their interactions with the overall social system.

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Patrick Lenta

All but one of the five papers in the present volume of Theoria deal with aspects of one of the central thematic concerns of contemporary political theory: the deliberative and participatory arrangements optimal for democratic flourishing. The first three essays are critical responses to Cass Sunstein’s treatment of democracy and deliberation in his timely and important book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (2006). Infotopia enquires as to how, in the information age, we may arrive at the best, most accurate information. Sunstein assesses arrangements by which dispersed information is pooled in order to improve collective decision-making. He evaluates competing methods for aggregating information, including surveys, deliberation, markets, blogs, open source software and wikis.

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Ze'ev Emmerich

What marks the difference between modern and non-modern political philosophy? Such a question could be understood in two ways. On the one hand, it could be understood as a question concerning formal differences between modern and pre/non-modern modes of philosophising. On the other hand, it could be understood as a question about the changing nature of the object of the philosophical enterprise, namely a question concerning the historical differences between modern and pre-modern (domestic as well as international) politics. Contemporary political philosophy has focused primarily on meeting the first, formal, challenge. By failing to take proper account of the effects that major historical developments—especially the rise of commercial society and global market economy—have had on the character of political life, much of contemporary political theory tend to view its enterprise as essentially an extension to or an application of ethics. What is needed instead is a 'political economy'. Political philosophy must rise to this challenge if it wishes to help us contend with our present predicament. The final part of the article outlines a realist, non-moralistic, political philosophy which takes account of the interplay between human 'sentiments' and 'reason' in a commercial world order.

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Theorizing Democracy and Violence

The Case of Northern Ireland

Adrian Little

This article examines the concept of violence in contemporary political theory focusing in particular on the possibility of rethinking the relationship between violence and democracy. Rather than seeing democracy and violence as contrasting concepts, it argues that democratic societies have always been founded on the basis of violent engagement at some level. And, of course, the modern state has always claimed the legitimate use of force as a key ingredient in its authority. The article contends that many contemporary democratic discourses have lost sight of the integral relationship between democracy and violence. Indeed it is frequently the case that discourses of democracy are couched in ethical terms as the obverse of violence. Ironically, this trend is often most apparent where societies are either making a transition to democracy or where a process of conflict transformation is taking place. The limitations of these approaches for our understanding of violence and democracy will be outlined in this article through an examination of contemporary political developments in Northern Ireland.

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Lasse Thomassen

political thought as well as contemporary political theory, and he draws on both analytic and Continental approaches, including the work of Frank Ankersmit, Michel Foucault and Raymond Geuss. His attempt to synthesise different traditions is exemplary, even

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Book Roundtable

Discussion text: Chin, C. 2018. The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought.

Lasse Thomassen, Joe Hoover, David Owen, Paul Patton, and Clayton Chin

Introduction Lasse Thomassen, Queen Mary University of London Clayton Chin's The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought argues that Richard Rorty is of greater relevance to contemporary political theory than is often assumed

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Common Democracy

Political Representation beyond Representative Democracy

Alexandros Kioupkiolis

alternative mode of political representation that remains largely unfulfilled and little explored in contemporary political theory, but emerges variously in civic initiatives, protests, movements, municipal politics, and digital communities. This logic of

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Gustavo H. Dalaqua

writers of the so-called representative turn in contemporary political theory for more than two decades. Hence, it is surprising that the political thought of Augusto Boal (1931–2009) remains neglected by several writers of the representative turn, for