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.  Paxton delineates three distinct approaches to agonistic democracy: William Connolly and James Tully’s inclusive agonism, David Owen’s perfectionist agonism, and Mouffe’s adversarial agonism. Paxton demonstrates how each is fundamental to enabling citizens to cultivate better virtues for themselves and society (Owen), motivating democratic engagement (Mouffe) and enhancing relations of respect and understanding between conflicting citizens (Connolly and Tully). Situated within the context of a deeply polarised post-Trump America and post-Brexit Britain, this book reveals the need to rethink our approach to conflict mediation through democratic institutions. Pulling together insights from experimental research with deliberative democratic innovations, Paxton explores how agonistic theory might be institutionalised further.

Through discussing ways in which agonistic institutions might be developed to render democracy more virtuous, more engaging, and more inclusive, Agonistic Democracy provides a unique resource for students of contemporary political theory.

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