Sovereignty, property and the lifeworld: democracy’s colonization of alterity

Mielle Chandler

in Democracy in Crisis

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079238
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702123 | DOI:
Sovereignty, property and the lifeworld: democracy’s colonization of alterity

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This chapter considers the theme of responsibility to others on the basis of a critique of mutual recognition. It contests the belief that democracy is antithetical to colonialism and suggests that plurality is severely circumscribed by the ontological structure and the economic processes endemic to political participation. This chapter shows that the cognitive processes of mutual recognition serve to reinforce and perpetuate political structures predicated on private ownership, thereby radically curtailing the range of possible manifestations of alterity. It also explains that while democracy is embraced as the ground of plurality, it ties plurality to the level of identity, thereby obscuring the ontological sameness on which such plurality is predicated.

Keywords: responsibility; mutual recognition; democracy; colonialism; plurality; political participation; private ownership; alterity

Chapter.  6756 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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