Savage democracy and principle of anarchy

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (6):703-726 (2002)

This essay offers only a broad description of a possible comparison between 'savage democracy' in the terms of Claude Lefort and the 'principle of anarchy' according to Reiner Schurmann. First, I shall try to define savage democracy. Then, in a second move, after having clarified Schurmann's principle of anarchy, I shall outline the terms for a possible confrontation of their respective views. The point here is to show the extent to which the contextualization of democracy with anarchy, considered as principle, is of a nature to bring out democracy's most 'savage' characteristics - but without for all that concealing the difficulties that this perspective provokes or reveals. Indeed, it is precisely by returning to and excavating the gap between anarchy and principle that one most closely approaches the 'savage essence' of democracy. Key Words: anarchy • democracy • domination • Heidegger • Lefort • Machiavelli • politics • savage democracy • Schurmann • totalitarianism.
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DOI 10.1177/019145370202800606
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