Agonism in divided societies

Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (2):255-277 (2006)
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This article considers how reconciliation might be understood as a democratic undertaking. It does so by examining the implications of the debate between theorists of ‘deliberative’ and ‘agonistic’ democracy for the practice of democracy in divided societies. I argue that, in taking consensus as a regulative idea, deliberative democracy tends to conflate moral and political community thereby representing conflict as already communal. In contrast, an agonistic theory of democracy provides a critical perspective from which to discern what is at stake in the politics of reconciliation since it understands community as a contingent achievement of political action. As such, an agonistic account of democracy suggests the possibility of retrieving the concept of reconciliation from a statesanctioned project of nation-building for a democratic politics centred on the possibilities of self-determination and solidarity among citizens divided by a history of state violence. Key Words: agonism • deliberation • democracy • reconciliation • transitional justice.



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References found in this work

Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?Chantal Mouffe - 1999 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 66 (3):745-758.
Fugitive Democracy.Sheldon S. Wolin - 1994 - Constellations 1 (1):11-25.
Deliberative Democracy in Divided Societies.John S. Dryzek - 2005 - Political Theory 33 (2):218-242.
6. The Moral Foundations of Truth Commissions.Dennis Thompson & Amy Gutmann - 2000 - In Dennis Thompson & Amy Gutmann (eds.), Why Deliberative Democracy? Princeton University Press. pp. 160-188.
Mutual respect as a device of exclusion.Stanley Fish - 1999 - In Stephen Macedo (ed.), Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement. Oxford University Press. pp. 88--102.

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