Democratic Anxieties: Same-Sex Marriage, Death, and Citizenship proceeds from the surprising parallels between straight and gay opponents of same-sex marriage. With their apocalyptic rhetoric they inadvertently point to a frequently neglected, existential dimension of democratic citizenship. Democratic Anxieties argues that we must pay attention to the existential significance of democratic citizenship, because otherwise we end up with anxious democracy-a democracy that cannot fully embrace pluralism, especially when the connections between sex, death, and citizenship are at stake. This book pursues a less anxious conception of democratic citizenship in chapters on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hannah Arendt, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Mario Feit reveals how Rousseau diminishes democratic citizenship by linking it to existential consolation via sexual reproduction. He interprets Arendt as a queer theorist, because she rejects the heteronormative pursuit of reproductive immortality. Yet, the hope for immortality persists within Arendt's conception of political action, which delimits its democratic potential. Feit argues that Nietzsche resists both Rousseau's political idealization of heterosexuality and Arendt's anxious alternative. Calling for an affirmation of death, Nietzsche creatively reimagines sexual as well as cultural reproduction, that is, he pluralizes democratic citizenship. The resulting more existentially aware democratic politics not only contribute to lesbian and gay equality, but are also critical in a post-September 11 world.
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About the Author
Mario Feit is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Same-Sex Marriage, Extinction, and Citizenship 1
1 Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Anxious Democracy 37
2 Hannah Arendt and Political Immortality 77
3 Affirming Death: Friedrich Nietzsche on Creating a Future 125
About the Author 195