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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mark Lewis Taylor has always worked at the intersection of the political and theological. Now, in this intense and exciting work, he explores in a systematic way how those two dimensions of human reality can be conceived anew and together.
Chantal Mouffe’s writings have been innovatory with respect to democratic theory, Marxism and feminism. Her work derives from, and has always been engaged with, contemporary political events and intellectual debates. This sense of conflict informs both the methodological and substantive propositions she offers. Determinisms, scientific or otherwise, and ideologies, Marxist or feminist, have failed to survive her excoriating critiques. In a sense she is the original post-Marxist, rejecting economisms and class-centric analyses, and also the original post-feminist, more concerned with the varieties of ‘identity politics’ than with any singularities of ‘women’s issues’. While Mouffe’s concerns with power and discourse derive from her studies of Gramsci’s theorisations of hegemony and the post-structuralisms of Derrida and Foucault, her reversal of the very terms through which political theory proceeds is very much her own. She centres conflict, not consensus, and disagreement, not finality. Whether philosophically perfectionist, or liberally reasonable, political theorists have been challenged by Mouffe to think again, and to engage with a new concept of ‘the political’ and a revived and refreshed notion of ‘radical democracy’. The editor has focused on her work in three key areas: Hegemony: From Gramsci to ‘Post-Marxism’ Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship and Identity The Political: A Politics Beyond Consensus The volume concludes with a new interview with Chantal Mouffe.
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.
The past 20 years have seen increasingly bold claims emanating from the field of neuroscience. Advances in medical imaging, brain modelling, and interdisciplinary cognitive science have forced us to reconsider the nature of social, cultural, and political activities. This collection of essays is the first to explore the relationship between neuroscience and political theory, with a view to examining what connections can be made and which claims represent a bridge too far. The book is divided into three parts: Part I: places neuroscience as a social and political practice into historical context Part II: weaves together the insights from contemporary neuroscience with the wisdom of major figures in the history of political thought Part III: considers how neuroscience can inform contemporary debates about a range of issues in political theory This work brings together scholars who are sceptical about the possibility of integrating neuroscience and political theory with proponents of a neuroscience-informed approach to thinking about political and social life. The result is a timely and wide-ranging collection of essays about the role that our brain might play in the life of the body politic. It should be essential reading for all those with an interest in the cutting edge of political theory.