Stasis Before the State: Nine Theses on Agonistic Democracy

Stasis Before the State: Nine Theses on Agonistic Democracy

by Dimitris Vardoulakis


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This book critiques the relation between sovereignty and democracy. Across nine theses, Vardoulakis argues that sovereignty asserts its power by establishing exclusions: the sovereign excluding other citizens from power and excludes refugees and immigrants from citizenship. Within this structure, to resist sovereignty is to reproduce the logic of exclusion characteristic of sovereignty.

In contrast to this “ruse of sovereignty,” Vardoulakis proposes an alternative model for political change. He argues that democracy can be understood as the structure of power that does not rely on exclusions and whose relation to sovereignty is marked not by exclusion but of incessant agonism.

The term stasis, which refers both to the state and to revolution against it, offers a tension that helps to show how the democratic imperative is presupposed by the logic of sovereignty, and how agonism is more primary than exclusion. In elaborating this ancient but only recently recovered concept of stasis, Vardoulakis illustrates the radical potential of democracy to move beyond the logic of exclusion and the ruse of sovereignty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823277407
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Series: Commonalities
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Dimitris Vardoulakis is Associate Professor and deputy chair of philosophy at Western Sydney University.

Table of Contents

Preamble, or On Agonistic Monism
Thesis 1
Constituent power forges the distinction between democracy and sovereignty
Thesis 2
Sovereign violence is always justified violence
Thesis 3
The different ways in which violence is justified delineate different forms of sovereignty
Intermezzo 1
Sovereignty and the Refugee
Thesis 4
Judgment is constitutive of democracy
Thesis 5
Judgement establishes the agonistic relation between democracy and sovereignty by dejusti-fying violence
Thesis 6
Democratic judgment shows the imbrication of the ontological, the political and the ethical
Intermezzo 2
The Refugee and Resistance to Sovereign Power
Thesis 7
Stasis indicates that judgment is the condition of the possibility of the law, or that democracy is the form of the constitution
Thesis 8
Stasis, or agonistic monism, names the forms of the relation between democracy and sover-eignty
Thesis 9
Stasis underlies all political praxisVardoulak

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