"Is it meaningful 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, along with its critical
weaknesses, and 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, and Jacques Ranci?re highlights its egalitarian
nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within
democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction
between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do
Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its
changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these
essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition
after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to
active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to
decline in western countries, and they address electoral
indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen
involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this
collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic
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