Agonism and Democracy
DOI link for Agonism and Democracy
Agonism and Democracy book
This chapter develops an understanding of the concept of political institutions suitable to an agonistic theory of democracy. Such institutional criteria are essential to determine which range of political rules, norms, and practices are most likely to support an agonistic politics. The chapter addresses the concern that agonistic theories emerged primarily as critiques of institutions and as such should not be used to develop or defend any particular model of political practice. It draws on empirically informed theories of institutions to explore the range of institutional possibilities appropriate to the agonistic understanding of politics. It also proposes a framework for use in evaluating the dominant models for organizing democratic governance, based on the likelihood that they might generate agonistic outcomes. Agonistic theorists who develop institutional claims betray the critical goals of agonism, which should be unrelentingly oppositional. Much of contemporary democratic theory, agonistic or otherwise, recognizes that the essence of politics exceeds the institutional forms of the state.