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Democracy in What State?

Overview

"Is it meaningful, as far as you are concerned, to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy and its critical weaknesses. They also reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the

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Democracy in What State?

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Overview

"Is it meaningful, as far as you are concerned, to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy and its critical weaknesses. They also reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, while Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Žižek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who hope to do without it.

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Editorial Reviews

Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

A timely and thought-provoking collection that shows that radical thinking and the politics of dissent are more than ever necessary in order to create a different kind of politics. Perhaps what most makes this book admirable is its attempt to start the dialogue that will rattle the sacrosanct cage of liberal democratic thinking.

Todd May

Democracy in What State? is timely, represents a wide variety of thinkers, and displays the political themes that are of concern to these thinkers. This allows the reader not only to have access to a general progressive critique of current political practice but also to compare different approaches to progressive thought and action, particularly (although not exclusively) in the contemporary French scene. If I saw it on a bookstore shelf, I would undoubtedly reach for it with one hand while reaching for my wallet with the other.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Giorgio Agamben teaches at the Università IUAV di Venezia, the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.Alain Badiou is René Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School and teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the College International de Philosophie.Daniel Bensaid is a philosopher and leader of the Trotskyist movement in France and author of Marx for Our Times. Wendy Brown is professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.Jean-Luc Nancy is professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and a student of Lyotard and Derrida.Jacques Rancière is professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Paris. A collaborator of Althusser, his major works include The Future of the Image and The Politics of Aesthetics.Kristin Ross is professor of comparative literature at New York University and the author of the award-winning Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture. Slavoj Zizek is a professor at the Institute for Sociology, Univeristy of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the European Graduate School.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by the French Publisher Translator's Note Introductory Note on the Concept of Democracy, by Giorgio Agamben The Democratic Emblem, by Alain Badiou Permanent Scandal, by Daniel Bensaïd
"We Are All Democrats Now... ", by Wendy Brown Finite and Infinite Democracy, by Jean-Luc Nancy Democracies Against Democracy, by Jacques Rancière Democracy for Sale, by Kristin Ross From Democracy to Divine Violence, by Slavoj Žižek Authors

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