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Democracy and Ontology

Agonism between Political Liberalism, Foucault and Psychoanalysis

By: Irena Rosenthal
Media of Democracy and Ontology
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Published: 28-05-2020
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 228
ISBN: 9781509938285
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: European Academy of Legal Theory Series
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP : £30.00

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Loren Epson

About Democracy and Ontology

This book investigates the relationship between liberal democracies and ontology, that is, philosophical claims about the constitution of agents and the social world. Many philosophers argue that ontology needs to be avoided in political and legal philosophy. In fact, political liberalism, a highly influential paradigm founded by the philosopher John Rawls, makes the avoidance of ontology a core ambition of its 'political, non-metaphysical' programme. In contrast to political liberalism, this book argues that attending to ontological disputes is essential to political and legal philosophy. Illuminating, criticising and developing ontological arguments does not only enhance our understanding of justice, but also highlights key features of democratic citizenship. The argument is built up by bringing together three traditions of thought that have so far not been confronted with one another: political liberalism, the work of Michel Foucault, and the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Donald Winnicott. The book also investigates more concrete implications of ontological disputes by drawing on several case studies: a Dutch political-legal debate about greeting rituals; an American conflict about the legalisation of religious freedom; and the struggles for resilience of two American social movement groups.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
I. Democracy
II. Ontology
III. Political Liberalism, Foucault and Psychoanalysis
IV. Research Questions
V. Overview of Chapters
2. Politicising Political Liberalism
I. Introduction
II. The Democratic Politicisation of Political Philosophy
III. A 'Freestanding' Justification of Justice
IV. Politicising Political Liberalism
V. Conclusion
3. The Stimulation of Enlightened Contest
I. Introduction
II. 'A Historical Ontology of Ourselves'
III. A Historical Ontology of Political Philosophy
IV. Foucault's Ethos of 'Stimulating Contest'
V. The Stimulation of Enlightened Contest
VI. Agonic Democracy
VII. Conclusion
4. Agonic Democracy and the Exercise of Rights
I. Introduction
II. The Governmentalised State
III. A Political Liberalist Approach to State-sanctioned Exclusions
IV. The Ontological Remnants in Tomasi's Social Theory
V. Politicising Tomasi's Concept of Legal Culture
VI. Conclusion
5. Transit: Renegotiating Political Liberalism and Agonic Democracy
6. Drained by a Democratic 'Burn-out': The Emotional Burdens of Agonic Democracy
I. Introduction
II. A Democratic 'Burn-out'
III. A Psychoanalytic Reading of Civic Loss
IV. Emotional Boundary-marking
V. Conclusion
7. Conclusion
I. Politicising the Political Liberalist Ontology
II. An Alternative Ontology of Democratic Politics
III. The Democratic Politicisation of Ontology

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