Democracy, Consensus and Dissent

Adrian Little

in Democratic Piety

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633654
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652709 | DOI:
Democracy, Consensus and Dissent

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This chapter suggests that it is problematic to conceive of democratic politics in terms of the pursuit of consensus. Where agreements are made to resolve or contain political disputes, they are best understood as transient and highly contingent upon their context. The chapter builds on this notion by grappling with the significance of disagreement for democratic politics. It identifies the emergence of some new liberal models of dissent in the face of criticisms emerging within radical democratic argument. Rather than seeing democracy and violence as dichotomous, the chapter suggests that they exist, overlap, and intertwine on a political continuum. In orthodox theories, however, the language of democracy can be utilised to close off the political to the challenge of dissent and criticism when, in fact, these phenomena are pivotal to the operation of democratic societies.

Keywords: democratic politics; dissent; radical democratic; violence; democracy

Chapter.  11805 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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