Performing Radical Democracy

Moya Lloyd

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:
Performing Radical Democracy

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This chapter examines Judith Butler's contribution to radical democratic theory, beginning by considering the place of universality in Butler's thought. Although radical democrats are, in general, wary of a priori universals, they do not unconditionally reject universality. Rather, they seek to reconceptualise it as both vital to democratisation yet ultimately unrealisable, and Butler is no exception. The chapter then analyses the case of same-sex marriage in order to explore an aporia in Butler's work, generated by the latter's apparent a priori assumption that the state is not a viable site for restaging the universal. The worry for Lloyd is that this assumption denies the significance of the specific historical context in which particular democratic struggles occur; times when the state might be a key site for democratic activism.

Keywords: Judith Butler; radical democratic theory; universality; same-sex marriage; democratic activism

Chapter.  8131 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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