Democracy in What State?

Paperback | June 19, 2012

byGiorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, DANIEL BENSAID

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"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"

In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it.

Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.

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"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense...

Giorgio Agamben teaches at the Università IUAV di Venezia, the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.Alain Badiou is the René Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School and teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the College International de Philosophie.Daniel...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:June 19, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023115299X

ISBN - 13:9780231152990

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Table of Contents

Foreword by the French PublisherTranslator's NoteIntroductory Note on the Concept of Democracy, by Giorgio AgambenThe Democratic Emblem, by Alain BadiouPermanent Scandal, by Daniel Bensaïd "We Are All Democrats Now. . . ", by Wendy BrownFinite and Infinite Democracy, by Jean-Luc NancyDemocracies Against Democracy, by Jacques RancièreDemocracy for Sale, by Kristin RossFrom Democracy to Divine Violence, by Slavoj ZizekAuthors

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The slim but hugely incisive volume, Democracy in What State?, in which well-known intellectuals articulate their radical critique of the democratic theory, its philosophical impasse and its logical conundrums, provides a convenient access to the current debate on democratic theory and its discontents.