Moya Lloyd and Adrian Little

in The Politics of Radical Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633999
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652723 | DOI:

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This chapter compares two accounts of radical democracy: critical theory and post-structuralist accounts. Critical theory radical democrats emphasise the possibility of rational consensus, achieved through deliberation according to normatively grounded procedures, whereas their post-structuralist counterparts stress dissensus, disagreement, agonism and/or antagonism. The chapter also introduces the relation between radical democracy and liberalism. The democratisation of liberalism might be tied to pluralism, which is the (ontological) condition of possibility and impossibility of democratic politics. It ‘implies’ the conflict and disagreement that keep alive democratic contestation. However, democracy is not primarily a system of government or a means of legitimising the state. It is a moment of disruption and a practice of political contestation.

Keywords: radical democracy; post-structuralist; critical theory; liberalism; pluralism; democratisation

Chapter.  4190 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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