A Democratic Theory of Life

Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 70 (176):1-33 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In response to its current crisis, scholars call for the revitalisation of democracy through democratic innovations. While they make ample use of life metaphors describing democracy as a living organism, no comprehensive understanding of ‘life’ has been established within democratic theory. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement articulates the urgency of refocusing on life and its meaning through radical democratic practice. This article employs a grounded theory approach, enriched with participatory methods, to develop a radical democratic concept of life in conversation with BLM. It conceptualises life as the existence of a perspective that constantly transforms through its fundamental interconnectedness. Building on this concept, the article outlines four principles of a living democracy that go beyond the revitalisation discourse. A living democracy (1) safeguards the existence of all humans and nonhumans, (2) nurtures a diversity of perspectives, (3) fosters social and planetary connectivity, and (4) enables self- and collective transformation.

Similar books and articles

What is the content of education in a democratic society?Bonna Devora Haberman - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 28 (2):183–190.
What is the Content of Education in a Democratic Society?Bonna Devora Haberman - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 28 (2):183-190.
Resolving the Dilemma of Democratic Informal Politics.Seth Mayer - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (4):691–716.
Toward an ethics of the encounter: William James's push beyond tolerance.Jeff Edmonds - 2011 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 25 (2):133-147.
Luc Boltanski and democratic theory.Paul Blokker - 2014 - Thesis Eleven 124 (1):53-70.
A More Democratic Bearing.Stephen K. White - 2015 - Political Theory 43 (6):707-729.
Anerkennung und Freiheit.Anita Horn - 2018 - Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 104 (1):16-40.
From body to flesh: Lefort, Merleau-Ponty, and democratic indeterminacy.Salih Emre Gerçek - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (4):571-592.


Added to PP

185 (#106,687)

6 months
153 (#21,737)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?