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Democracy and the Multitude

Spinoza against Negri

Sandra Field

Negri celebrates a conception of democracy in which the concrete powers of individual humans are not alienated away, but rather are added together: this is a democracy of the multitude. But how can the multitude act without alienating anyone's power? To answer this difficulty, Negri explicitly appeals to Spinoza. Nonetheless, in this paper, I argue that Spinoza's philosophy does not support Negri's project. I argue that the Spinozist multitude avoids internal hierarchy through the mediation of political institutions and not in spite of them; nor do these institutions merely emanate from the multitude as it is, but rather they structure, restrain and channel its passions. In particular, the required institutions are not those of a simple direct democracy. There may be other non-Spinozist arguments on which Negri can ground his theory, but he cannot legitimately defend his conception of the democratic multitude by appeal to Spinoza.

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Lauri Rapeli and Inga Saikkonen

-19 in terms of immediate effects on current democratic leaders, and speculate on the long-term effects on support for democratic institutions and principles. However, we expect that the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic may seriously aggravate

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Democracy in a Global Emergency

Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Afsoun Afsahi, Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen A. Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon

renewing democratic imperatives in times of emergency. Lesson 1: COVID-19 has had Corrosive Effects on Already Endangered Democratic Institutions The politics of COVID-19 have understandably been conducted as ‘emergency politics’ ( Honig 2009 ). What

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The Deliberative Potential of Facultative Referendums

Procedure and Substance in Direct Democracy

Alice el-Wakil

direct democratic institutions and offer support for the claim that deliberative and direct democracy “can be regarded as mutually supportive ” ( Saward 2001a: 363 ) by coming back to the deliberative ideal articulated by the first wave of deliberative

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Fall-Out and the German People

The Political Climate in Pausewang's Novel Die Wolke (1987) and Anike Hage's Manga Adaptation (2013)

Sean A. McPhail

betrays two preoccupations in Cold War West German thought that Die Wolke also directly addresses: scepticism of democratic institutions, and fear of nuclear annihilation (accidental or otherwise). 1 Meanwhile, Pausewang's novel is saturated with

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Monique Deveaux

’s structural inequalities in the family and community, and their political marginalization—hold for thinking about the prospects for, and design of, deliberative democratic institutions in multicultural democracies? If private/social subordination and political

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Ali Aslam, David McIvor, and Joel Alden Schlosser

Urgent alarms now warn of the erosion of democratic norms and the decline of democratic institutions. These antidemocratic trends have prompted some democratic theorists to reject the seeming inevitability of democratic forms of government and instead to consider democracy as a fugitive phenomenon. Fugitive democracy, as we argue below, is a theory composed of two parts. First, it includes a robust, normative ideal of democracy and, second, a clear-eyed vision of the historical defeats and generic difficulties attendant to that ideal. This article considers how democratic theorists might respond to the challenges posed by fugitive democracy and the implications of such an understanding for future research in democratic theory.

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Adele Webb

Public ambivalence towards democracy has come under increasing scrutiny. It is a mood registered perhaps most clearly in the fact populist figures, from Trump to Orbàn to Duterte, appear to carry strong appeal despite the fact, or perhaps because of the fact, they pose a threat to democratic institutions and processes of governance. Are ambivalent citizens the grave threat to democracy they are often portrayed to be in media and academic discourse on populism? In this article, I contend that citizens’ ambivalence about democracy is a more complex, spirited and volitional idea than is acknowledged in the current discussion of populism. Drawing on psychoanalysis and critical social thought, I embrace a conception of citizens’ ambivalence in a democracy as both immanent and desirable. I argue ambivalence can be a form of participation in democracy that is crucial to safeguarding its future.

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Lloyd Kramer

This article discusses R. R. Palmer's interest in communicating with a broad audience on subjects of transnational political and cultural significance. His approach to historical writing shows the value of synthetic narratives, the importance of a lucid prose style, and the uses of history for the exploration of enduring political issues. Although Palmer's work reflects the preoccupations and scholarship of his own twentieth-century academic context, his interest in democratic institutions remains relevant for contemporary readers. His analysis of "big questions" shows how political ideas can travel across national borders and stresses the relationship between Enlightenment reason and modern political movements. Palmer's commitment to Enlightenment values in books such as The Age of the Democratic Revolution therefore remains a valuable model for the advocates of transnational history, even in the twenty-first century.

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Maria Ferretti and Enzo Rossi

Agonist theorists have argued against deliberative democrats that democratic institutions should not seek to establish a rational consensus, but rather allow political disagreements to be expressed in an adversarial form. But democratic agonism is not antagonism: some restriction of the plurality of admissible expressions is not incompatible with a legitimate public sphere. However, is it generally possible to grant this distinction between antagonism and agonism without accepting normative standards in public discourse that saliently resemble those advocated by (some) deliberative democrats? In this paper we provide an analysis of one important aspect of political communication, the use of slippery-slope arguments, and show that the fact of pluralism weakens the agonists' case for contestation as a sufficient ingredient for appropriately democratic public discourse. We illustrate that contention by identifying two specific kinds of what we call pluralism slippery slopes, that is, mechanisms whereby pluralism reinforces the efficacy of slippery-slope arguments.