Political conflict in our society is inevitable, and the results are often far from negative. How then should we deal with the intractable differences arising from complex modern culture? In Agonistics, Mouffe develops her philosophy, taking particular interest in international relations, strategies for radical politics and the politics of artistic practices. In a series of coruscating essays, she engages with cosmopolitanism, post-operaism, and theories of multiple modernities to argue in favor of a multipolar world with a real cultural and political pluralism.
Contemporary global politics poses urgent challenges – from humanitarian, migratory and environmental problems to economic, religious and military conflicts – that strain not only existing political systems and resources, but also the frameworks and concepts of political thinking. The standard cosmopolitan response is to invoke a sense of global community, governed by such principles as human rights or humanitarianism, free or fair trade, global equality, multiculturalism, or extra-national democracy. Yet, the contours, grounds and implications of such a global community remain notoriously controversial, and it risks abstracting precisely from the particular and conflictual character of the challenges which global politics poses. The contributions to this collection undertake to develop a more fruitful cosmopolitan response to global political challenges, one that roots cosmopolitanism in the particularity and conflict of global politics itself. They argue that this ‘contestatory’ cosmopolitanism must be dialectical, agonistic and democratic: that is, its concepts and principles must be developed immanently and critically out of prevailing normative resources; they must reflect and acknowledge their antagonistic roots; and they must be the result of participatory and self-determining publics. In elaborating this alternative, the contributions also return to neglected cosmopolitan theorists like Hegel, Adorno, Arendt, Camus, Derrida, and Mouffe, and reconsider mainstream figures such as Kant and Habermas. This collection was originally published as a special edition of Critical Horizons.
On New Actors and Activism in Berlin’s Cultural Politics
Author: Friederike Landau
Category: Social Science
This book offers an empirically-grounded account of the emergence and political activities of a new collective actor in Berlin’s art field. Investigating the organizational and representative practices of Koalition der Freien Szene (Coalition of the Independent Scene) – a trans-disciplinary action platform assembling a wide variety of cultural producers in Berlin – the author unpacks the political organization of one of the most compelling contemporary art scenes, or ‘creative’ cities, worldwide, analysing both its concrete policy ‘success’ and the means by which it seeks to challenge and rearticulate the meaning of Berlin as a ‘creative’ city from the producers’ point of view. The book thus opens new opportunities for long-term transformations of the cultural political field. Theoretically sophisticated and based on empirical material including interviews with spokespeople and cultural administrators, Agonistic Articulations in the ‘Creative’ City presents a unique conceptualization of new modes of political collectivization, representation and legitimacy that imagine new avenues of political engagement at a time when political institutions, parties and regimes of representation are in crisis. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, political science and urban studies with interests in social movements and cultural activism.
This book demonstrates how certain African American writers radically re-envisioned core American ideals in order to make them serviceable for racial justice. Each writer's unprecedented reconstruction of key American values has the potential to energize American citizenship today.
Seminar paper from the year 2017 in the subject Politics - Political Theory and the History of Ideas Journal, grade: High Merit, , course: The Challenge of Carl Schmitt, language: English, abstract: Carl Schmitt is not only known for his remarkable influence on 20th century legal and political theory, but also for his close allegiance with Nazism. Whereas some say that his Nazi experience can’t be separated from his ideas, it is even more surprising that radical democrat Chantal Mouffe comes up with a way of using Schmitt’s ideas to rethink contemporary politics. Her reflection on and modification of Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction led her to a friend-adversary distinction that underlies her notion of agonistic pluralism. The aim of this essay is to outline in what way Mouffe’s account of agonistic pluralism resembles Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction. First, we have a look on Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction. Then, we will focus on Chantal Mouffe’s modification of Schmitt’s distinction and mention besides widely discussed commonalities and differences between her and Schmitt’s conception a difference that until now hasn’t received much attention in the literature: the different accounts of the preferred location of the friend’s opponent. In the last part of this essay, a weakness that both conceptions share and that until now didn’t receive the attention it deserves, will be presented, namely their failure to recognize that friend-opponent distinctions are not necessarily tied to membership of a certain political entity. In the last paragraph, possible implications of this weakness on the relationship between Schmitt’s and Mouffe’s friend-opponent distinctions and cosmopolitanism will be outlined.
Since September 11th, we frequently hear that political differences should be put aside: the real struggle is between good and evil. What does this mean for political and social life? Is there a 'Third Way' beyond left and right, and if so, should we fear or welcome it? This thought-provoking book by Chantal Mouffe, a globally recognized political author, presents a timely account of the current state of democracy, affording readers the most relevant and up-to-date information. Arguing that liberal 'third way thinking' ignores fundamental, conflicting aspects of human nature, Mouffe states that, far from expanding democracy, globalization is undermining the combative and radical heart of democratic life. Going back first to Aristotle, she identifies the historical origins of the political and reflects on the Enlightenment, and the social contract, arguing that in spite of its good intentions, it levelled the radical core of political life. Contemporary examples, including the Iraq war, racism and the rise of the far right, are used to illustrate and support her theory that far from combating extremism, the quest for consensus politics undermines the ability to challenge it. These case studies are also highly effective points of reference for student revision. On the Political is a stimulating argument about the future of politics and addresses the most fundamental aspects of democracy that will aid further study.
Political philosopher Noëlle McAfee proposes a powerful new political theory for our post-9/11 world, in which an old pathology-the repetition compulsion-has manifested itself in a seemingly endless war on terror. McAfee argues that the quintessentially human desire to participate in a world with others is the key to understanding the public sphere and to creating a more democratic society, a world that all members can have a hand in shaping. But when some are effectively denied this participation, whether through trauma or terror, instead of democratic politics, there arises a political unconscious, an effect of desires unarticulated, failures to sublimate, voices kept silent, and repression reenacted. Not only is this condition undemocratic and unjust, it may lead to further trauma. Unless its troubles are worked through, a political community risks continual repetition and even self-destruction. McAfee deftly weaves together her experience as an observer of democratic life with an array of intellectual schemas, from poststructural psychoanalysis to Rawlsian and Habermasian democratic theories, as well as semiotics, civic republicanism, and American pragmatism. She begins with an analysis of the traumatic effects of silencing members of a political community. Then she explores the potential of deliberative dialogue and other "talking cures" and public testimonies, such as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to help societies work through, rather than continually act out, their conflicts. Democracy and the Political Unconscious is rich in theoretical insights, but it is also grounded in the practical problems of those who are trying to process the traumas of oppression, terror, and brutality and create more decent and democratic societies. Drawing on a breathtaking range of theoretical frameworks and empirical observations, Democracy and the Political Unconscious charts a course for democratic transformation in a world sorely lacking in democratic practice.
By exploring the life and work of the influential feminist thinker Simone de Beauvoir, this book shows how each of us lives within political and social structures that we can, and must, play a part in transforming.