Agonistic Democracy: Rethinking Political Institutions in Pluralist Times

1st Edition

Marie Paxton

November 26, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 224 Pages
ISBN 9781138354043 - CAT# K399283
Series: Routledge Advances in Democratic Theory

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Agonistic Democracy explores how theoretical concepts from agonistic democracy can inform institutional design in order to mediate conflict in multicultural, pluralist societies.

Drawing on the work of Foucault, Nietzsche, Schmitt, and Arendt, Marie Paxton outlines the importance of their themes of public contestation, contingency and necessary interdependency for contemporary agonistic thinkers.  Delineating three distinct approaches to agonistic democracy - Mouffe’s adversarial agonism, William Connolly and James Tully’s inclusive agonism and David Owen’s perfectionist agonism - Paxton demonstrates how each is fundamental to motivating democratic engagement (Mouffe), enhancing relations of respect and understanding between conflicting citizens (Connolly and Tully) and enabling to citizens to cultivate better virtues for themselves and society (Owen). Situated within the context of deep divisions and polarisation in post-Trump America and post-Brexit Britain, Paxton reveals the need to rethink our approach to conflict mediation. Pulling together insights from empirical explorations of agonistic concepts with extant democratic innovations in the deliberative field, Paxton explores how agonistic theory might be institutionalised further.

Demonstrating how developing agonistic institutions can help to render democracy more inclusive, more engaging and better able to cultivate a virtuous society, Agonistic Democracy provides a unique resource for students of contemporary political theory.

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