Download Democracy in What State? (New Directions in Critical Theory) by Giorgio Agamben PDF

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By Giorgio Agamben

"Is it significant to name oneself a democrat? And if that is so, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this question, 8 iconoclastic thinkers turn out the wealthy power of democracy, besides its serious weaknesses, and reconceive the perform to house new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben lines the stressful heritage of constitutions and their coexistence with quite a few governments. Alain Badiou contrasts present democratic perform with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, whereas Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society lower than neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the variation among democracy as a sort of rule and as a human finish, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships inside of democratic perform, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the excellence among those that wish to personal the country and people who desire to do with no it.Concentrating at the classical roots of democracy and its altering that means through the years and inside diverse contexts, those essays uniquely safeguard what's left of the left-wing culture after the autumn of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to energetic democratic participation that experience prompted voter turnout to say no in western international locations, and so they tackle electoral indifference via invoking and reviving the culture of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically wealthy, this assortment speaks to all elements of recent political and democratic debate.

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Extra info for Democracy in What State? (New Directions in Critical Theory)

Sample text

However, over the past half century, the monopoly of these combined attributes by nation-states has been severely compromised by ever-growing transnational flows of capital, people, ideas, resources, commodities, violence, and political and religious fealty These flows both tear at the borders they cross and crystalize as powers within, thus compromising nation-state sovereignty from its edges and its interior. When states remain fiercely agentic amidst their eroding sovereignty when they detach from the unique double meaning of sovereignty in democracies—popular and supervenient—there are two especially important consequences.

2 It is not simply a matter of corporate wealth buying (or being) politicians and overtly contouring domestic and foreign policy, nor of a corporatized media that makes a mockery of informed publics or accountable power. More than intersecting, major democracies today feature a merging of corporate and state power: extensively outsourced state functions ranging from schools to prisons to militaries; investment bankers and corporate CEOs as ministers and cabinet secretaries; states as nongoverning owners of incomprehensibly large portions of finance capital; and, above all, state power unapologetically harnessed to the project of capital ac46 WENDY BROWN cumulation via tax, environmental, energy, labor, social, fiscal, and monetary policy as well as an endless stream of direct supports and bailouts for all sectors of capital.

In Rousseau, however, this confidence is immediately tempered by the idea that while "the general will is always right. ). Hence the general will runs into a democratic deadlock. To set out the best guidelines for social life, "a superior intelligence would be necessary, perceiving all the passions of mankind and feeling none of them," a sort of juridico-moral twin of Laplace's demon. This inac30 DANIEL BENSAID cessible vantage point on totality would make the legislator "in all respects an extraordinary man in the State," for he who commands the laws must not exert command over men.

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