Humanism from an agonistic perspective: Themes from the work of Bonnie Honig

Contemporary Political Theory 13 (2):168-217 (2014)
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This paper examines Honig’s use of Rancière in her book ‘Democracy and the Foreigner’. In seeking to clarify the benefits of ‘foreignness’ for democratic politics it raises the concern that Honig does not acknowledge the ways in which her own democratic cosmopolitanism may be more akin to Rancière’s police than politics. By challenging Honig’s assertion that democracy is usually read as a romance with the suggestion that it is more commonly read as a horror, I unpick the interstices of Honig’s and Rancière’s work to separate foreignness from democratic cosmopolitanism. Instead, although I posit democratic cosmopolitanism’s potential as a police more conducive to politics I also suggest that the particular salience of Honig’s ‘foreigner’ figure is that it supplements Rancièrian politics, demonstrating a praxis of ‘looking anew’ at our ordinary social practices. By making these seem strange to us, we can discover a new critical perspective from which to question and subvert, thereby furthering the potential of Rancièrian democratic politics



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References found in this work

Is multiculturalism bad for women?Susan Moller Okin (ed.) - 1999 - Princeton University Press.
Radical hope: ethics in the face of cultural devastation.Jonathan Lear - 2006 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Political theory and the displacement of politics.Bonnie Honig - 1993 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Strangers to Ourselves.Julia Kristeva - 1991 - Columbia University Press.

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