Democracy is a failure worthy of infinite repetition

Critical Horizons 2 (1):127-148 (2001)
Abstract
This paper argues that democracy is universalisable as a theory and practice that fails to be identical with itself. Firstly, the paradox that democracy's universality can be put into practice only in particular terms and contexts is discussed. Then four models of democratic universality are presented and assessed: (i) empirical or actual universality; (ii) hybrid universality; (iii) cosmopolitan universality; (iv) impossible universality.The final argument is that democracy can be universalised because of the impossibility of making the demos identical with political authority, which is akin to the impossibility of being identical to ourselves.
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