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Showing papers in "Political Theory in 2013"


Journal ArticleDOI
Alex Gourevitch1
TL;DR: In the nineteenth century, a group of "labor republicans" argued that the system of wage-labor should be replaced by a system of cooperative production as mentioned in this paper, and they argued that such a system would be more efficient.
Abstract: In the nineteenth century a group of “labor republicans” argued that the system of wage-labor should be replaced by a system of cooperative production. This system of cooperative production would r...

115 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors reclaims a political proceduralist vision of democracy as the best normative defense of democracy in contemporary politics, and distinguishes this vision from three main approaches that are representative in the current academic debate: the epistemic conception of democratic as a process of truth seeking; the populist defense of a mobilizing politics that defies procedures; and the classical minimalist or Schumpeterian definition of a competitive method for selecting leaders.
Abstract: This essay reclaims a political proceduralist vision of democracy as the best normative defense of democracy in contemporary politics. We distinguish this vision from three main approaches that are representative in the current academic debate: the epistemic conception of democracy as a process of truth seeking; the populist defense of democracy as a mobilizing politics that defies procedures; and the classical minimalist or Schumpeterian definition of democracy as a competitive method for selecting leaders.

88 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Rachel Bayefsky1
TL;DR: Kant is often considered a key figure in a modern transition from social and political systems based on honour to those based on dignity, where "honour" is understood as a hierarchical measure of social value, and "dignity" is defined as the inherent and equal worth of every individual as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Kant is often considered a key figure in a modern transition from social and political systems based on honour to those based on dignity, where “honour” is understood as a hierarchical measure of social value, and “dignity” is understood as the inherent and equal worth of every individual. The essay provides a richer account of Kant’s contribution to the “politics of equal dignity” by examining his understanding of dignity and honour, and the interaction between these concepts. The essay argues that Kant appeals to multiple varieties of dignity and honour, that he does not reject honour in favour of dignity, and that he sees some versions of honour as conducive to respect for dignity. Furthermore, the complexity of Kant’s views on dignity and honour has implications for the theory and practice of human rights in the current day.

57 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue for the need to counteract catastrophization, a discursive and objective political phenomenon, by not only re-cognizing how catastrophes impinge on political life but by offering a more critical understanding of this intersection.
Abstract: This essay conceptualizes the intersections between contemporary catastrophes and political life by exploring how narratives of catastrophe mediate discursive and objective processes of catastrophization It argues for the need to counteract catastrophization, a discursive and objective political phenomenon, by not only re-cognizing how catastrophes impinge on political life but by offering a more critical understanding of this intersection The essay thus calls for the politicization of catastrophe as a response to the “catastrophization of political life” Apropos of these concerns, it engages with Habermas in order to explore how his political theory and interventions illustrate important aspects of the intersections between narratives of catastrophe and contemporary political life, say, how discursive catastrophization leads to the misrecognition of objective modalities of catastrophe Overall, this essay offers an account of how to conceptualize catastrophe and catastrophization in order to articulat

31 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The debate over Locke's theory of slavery has focused on his involvement with the Royal African Company and other institutions of African slavery, as well as his rhetorical use of slavery in opposi....
Abstract: The debate over Locke’s theory of slavery has focused on his involvement with the Royal African Company and other institutions of African slavery, as well as his rhetorical use of slavery in opposi...

28 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Jonathan Riley1
TL;DR: The concept of a common moral minimum includes multiple components, including the idea that there is a shared moral world of plural and conflicting incommensurable objective values and the belief that humans share a common nucleus of needs and interests centered on the overriding goal of human survival.
Abstract: Isaiah Berlin’s political thought consistently combines tragic value pluralism with moral priority for a minimum sphere of individual liberty which is defined and protected by a core set of basic human rights. His fundamental concept of a common moral minimum includes multiple components, including the idea that there is a common moral world of plural and conflicting incommensurable objective values and the idea that humans share a common nucleus of needs and interests centered on the overriding goal of human survival. The basic human rights have priority over competing values because the rights are essential for human survival. They determine a common threshold of human decency: decent societies must respect the rights, which are in principle mutually harmonious under ordinary conditions, although emergencies can arise in which some of the rights must be sacrificed to respect others. Berlin’s focus is on decency, which he insists can be maintained without a commitment to political democracy.

27 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Trust is not usually considered a Hobbesian concept, which is odd since it is central to the definition of a covenant as discussed by the authors, and the key to understanding Hobbes's concept of trust is to be found in his acc...
Abstract: “Trust” is not usually considered a Hobbesian concept, which is odd since it is central to the definition of a covenant. The key to understanding Hobbes’s concept of trust is to be found in his acc...

27 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: While the loss of the second book of the Poetics has deprived us of Aristotle's most extensive account of laughter and comedy, his discussion of eutrapelia (wittiness) as a virtue in his ethical wo...
Abstract: While the loss of the second book of the Poetics has deprived us of Aristotle’s most extensive account of laughter and comedy, his discussion of eutrapelia (wittiness) as a virtue in his ethical wo...

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Daniela Cammack1
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that one argument advanced by Aristotle in favor of the political authority of the multitude is that large groups can make better decisions by pooling their knowledge than individuals or small groups can makes alone.
Abstract: It is generally believed that one argument advanced by Aristotle in favor of the political authority of the multitude is that large groups can make better decisions by pooling their knowledge than individuals or small groups can make alone. This is supported by two analogies, one apparently involving a “potluck dinner” and the other aesthetic judgment. This article suggests that that interpretation of Aristotle’s argument is implausible given the historical context and several features of the text. It argues that Aristotle’s support for the rule of the multitude rested not on its superior knowledge but rather on his belief that the virtue of individuals can be aggregated and even amplified when they act collectively. This significantly alters our understanding of Aristotle’s political thought and presents a powerful alternative to the epistemic defenses of mass political activity popular today.

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Daniel Lee1
TL;DR: Bodin's analysis in the Six Livres de la Republique is often interpreted as evidence of his alleged political absolutism as mentioned in this paper, which is a misguided view of Bodin's political thought.
Abstract: Jean Bodin’s analysis in Six Livres de la Republique is often understood as evidence of his alleged political absolutism. This article examines Bodin’s theory of offices to argue that this is a misguided view of Bodin’s political thought. I begin by revisiting Bodin’s distinction between the “sovereignty” and the “government” of the state. It is in the analysis of the latter that Bodin constructs a normative doctrine warning of the dangers of “seigneurial” rule. As I show, Bodin’s purpose was to reject seigneurial rule by contrasting it with lawful rule, the mode of government in which public power was discharged according to law and custom, not by seigneurial will. Essential to Bodin’s analysis was a concept of public office that envisioned the officer as an independent intermediary “borrowing” public powers, not from higher magistrates or from the prince (as medieval lawyers traditionally argued), but only from the impersonal state.

24 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article interpreted Hannah Arendt's concept of the "social question" through a reading of her controversial essay "Reflections on Little Rock" and argued that the social question refers to soc...
Abstract: This essay interprets Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “social question” through a reading of her controversial essay “Reflections on Little Rock.” I argue that Arendt’s social question refers to soc...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The relationship between ideal theory and non-ideal theory has been studied in this paper, starting with Rawls's conception of ideal theory, and concluding with A. John Simmons' articulation of non ideal theory.
Abstract: This essay considers the relationship between ideal theory and non-ideal theory. It begins with Rawls’s conception of ideal theory and A. John Simmons’s articulation of non-ideal theory. Both defen...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For example, the authors argues that "Classical Athens assimilated and disenfranchised a large, free immigrant population of "metics" on the basis of blood, generation after generation".
Abstract: Classical Athens assimilated and disenfranchised a large, free immigrant population of “metics” on the basis of blood, generation after generation. Yet immigration politics remain a curiously displ...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The use of dependence in modern republicanism has been examined in this paper, where the authors argue that dependence has two essentially distinct inflections, one relating to outright domination (subjection to arbitrary power) and the other relating to a condition of material subordinacy (dependency corruption).
Abstract: The concept of dependence is central both to the study of modern republicanism and to the study of systemic corruption. Recently, Lawrence Lessig has described American politics as suffering from “dependency corruption,” a type of institutional corruption about which eighteenth-century republican writers were extremely worried. This article examines the use of the concept “dependence” in the current “neo-roman” republican theory stemming from Quentin Skinner, Maurizio Viroli, and particularly Philip Pettit. The article argues that the term dependence has two essentially distinct inflections, one relating to outright domination (subjection to arbitrary power) and the other relating to a condition of material subordinacy (dependency corruption). If liberty is the “the absence of dependence on the will of others,” it is extremely important to determine just what independence entails. This article suggests that dependency corruption was a dominant concern of the modern republican tradition, but it is a concer...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Peoples Ancient and Just Liberties Asserted (1670) as mentioned in this paper, a purported transcript of the trial of William Penn and William Mead for disturbance of the peace, plays an important role in the emergent principle of jury independence and a key role in Penn's career as a political actor during the 1670s.
Abstract: Political theorists can at times forget that the origins of political theory lie in the struggles of concrete political life. This paper focuses on one arena of political contestation: the collision between dissenters and their communities’ legal systems. It focuses on The Peoples Ancient and Just Liberties Asserted (1670), a purported transcript of the trial of William Penn and William Mead for disturbance of the peace. The trial plays an important role in the emergent principle of jury independence and a key role in Penn’s career as a political actor during the 1670s, culminating in his American colonizing enterprise. After a few remarks about the trial itself, the paper proceeds in two parts, each emphasizing an aspect of the text’s performative nature. First, akin to canonical works of the Anglo-American tradition, Peoples presents embedded principles: coherent and substantive visions of legitimate government, justified by reference to authoritative texts, arguments, and practices. But the defendants ...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that rather than rejecting Roman liberty, per se, Hobbes identifies and attacks a language of liberty, Roman in character, often abused by ambitious persons, and that this theory speaks to the egalitarian elements in his political thought.
Abstract: Neorepublican treatments of Hobbes argue that his conception of liberty was deliberately developed to counter a revived and Roman-rooted republican theory of liberty. In doing so, Hobbes rejects republican liberty, and, with it, Roman republicanism. We dispute this narrative and argue that rather than rejecting Roman liberty, per se, Hobbes identifies and attacks a language of liberty, Roman in character, often abused by ambitious persons. This is possible because Roman liberty—and, by extension, Hobbes’s relationship to it—is more complex than neorepublican authors have allowed. Drawing on Roman sources, along with Hobbes’s major works, we argue that Hobbes’s theory of liberty owes much to his engagement with Roman sources, and that this theory speaks to the egalitarian elements in his political thought.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper argued that black Americans writing from outside or at the margins of the democratic polity shed important light on the nature of human dignity and on the political emotion that offers human dignity.
Abstract: This essay argues that black Americans writing from outside or at the margins of the democratic polity shed important light on the nature of human dignity and on the political emotion that offers—t...

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that Freud's second-education (Nacherziehung) offers an ethical cultivation framed around a "combative collaboration" between analyst and patient that teaches tolerance of discomfort; endurance of uncertainty; and narrative capacity.
Abstract: Agonistic theories of democratic practice lack an explicit model for ethical cultivation. Even as these theorists advocate sensibilities of “ethical open-ness and receptivity,” so as to engage in the political work of “maintenance, repair, and amendment,” they lack an account of how individuals ought be motivated to this task or how it should unfold. Toward theorizing such a model, I turn to Freud and clinical psychoanalytic practice. I argue that Freud’s “second-education” (Nacherziehung) offers an ethical cultivation framed around a “combative collaboration” between analyst and patient that teaches tolerance of discomfort; endurance of uncertainty; and narrative capacity. This second-education suggests two lessons for politics. First, that we might do well to reproduce its relational form more broadly across politics. And second, that we cultivate those “sacral spaces” capable of challenging the conditions for symbolic meaning as it stretches between personal and collective practices.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that Nietzsche consciously crafted his published works to allow this range of interpretations, that he did this for critical purposes, and that his so-called rhetoric is there to serve this purpose.
Abstract: Interpretations of Nietzsche, particularly about politics, cover an exceptionally wide range. Additionally, Nietzsche is often said to commit “rhetorical excesses.” I argue and show that Nietzsche consciously crafted his published works to allow this range of interpretations, that he did this for critical purposes, and that his so-called rhetoric is there to serve this purpose.

Journal ArticleDOI
Gideon Baker1
TL;DR: In this paper, two moments of the political which exist in a difficult but necessary tension are identified: revolution and dissent, while revolution signals subjective possibility itself by determining that the truth of the event is for all, dissidence keeps that possibility alive by pointing to the human subject's fundamental indeterminacy.
Abstract: Underlying Giorgio Agamben’s and Alain Badiou’s disagreement over the apostle Paul we find common cause: following Paul’s deactivation of law, both Agamben and Badiou see the fixed identities necessary to the naturalised nomos of State politics as transfigured by a politics of grace. This transfiguration is differently rendered as either the emergence of a universal subject (Badiou) or the opening up of existing subjectivities (Agamben), but both the messianic vocation in Agamben and the universal subject in Badiou allow subjective possibility to that which is not in the present objectified order. Developing this theme of a basic emancipatory affinity, two moments of the political which exist in a difficult but necessary tension are identified: revolution and dissent. While revolution signals subjective possibility itself by determining that the truth of the event is for all, dissidence keeps that possibility alive by pointing to the human subject’s fundamental indeterminacy.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors reinterpreted Hegel's failure to theorize a remedy for the poverty that disrupts modern society and argued that the sovereign state depends upon the persistence of poverty.
Abstract: This article reinterprets Hegel’s much discussed “failure” to theorize a remedy for the poverty that disrupts modern society. I argue that Hegel does not offer any solution to the problem of poverty because, in his view, the sovereign state depends upon the persistence of poverty. Whereas a state’s achievement of external sovereignty requires the presence of another state, its achievement of internal sovereignty requires the presence of a different, internal other. This role is played by the impoverished and rebellious “rabble,” which opposes the state’s unity and stability. Ethical life cannot eliminate poverty because poverty, and the insecurity that it engenders, are dialectical conditions of the state’s highest development. This interpretation reveals a critical dimension to Hegel’s political philosophy, insofar as the state’s promise of actualized freedom can only be sustained in relation to a mass of internal “outsiders” to whom that freedom does not extend.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The role of the bystander has been defined in terms of charitable rescue or negligence as discussed by the authors, which ignores the complex political dimensions of bystander responsibilities for systemic mass violence, especially those responsibilities that stem from the benefits that bystanders receive.
Abstract: Political responsibilities for systemic mass violence have been subordinated to the moral guilt and legal liability of perpetrators and collaborators, while the role of the bystander has been narrowly construed in terms of charitable rescue or negligence. This dominant victim–perpetrator framework ignores the complex political dimensions of bystander responsibilities for systemic mass violence, especially those responsibilities that stem from the benefits that bystanders receive. The films of Claude Lanzmann, Rithy Panh, and Yael Hersonski contain elements of an alternative framework of bystander responsibility and also can serve as catalysts for the political education of bystander beneficiaries and those from whom they have benefited.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that the work of the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga is an important resource for contemporary democratic theory because his employment of the concept of play illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of agonistic thought.
Abstract: In this essay I argue that the work of the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga is an important resource for contemporary democratic theory because his employment of the concept of play illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of agonistic thought. I employ a reading of Huizinga to explore three central problems of contemporary agonism: the distinction between antagonism and agonism; the representative or expressive character of the agon; and the shaping and limiting of the space of the agon by the materials with which we play democratic games. Reading Huizinga reveals the importance of a consideration of the social relations and material conditions that shape the playful features of democratic contestation. But it also warns against the idealization of democratic contestation and the contesting subject that occurs in contemporary agonistic thought as a result of privileging the autonomy and priority of play and extruding it from the wider economy of agonism.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In Levinas's philosophy, nature refers to two distinct and sometimes opposed concepts: being and perseverance in being (i.e., conatus): it is what is and wants to be as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: In Levinas’s philosophy, “nature” refers to two distinct and sometimes opposed concepts. Most often it stands for being and perseverance in being (i.e., conatus): it is what is and wants to be. In ...


Journal ArticleDOI
John Seery1
TL;DR: In this paper, a re-reading of Freud's Totem and Taboo along with an analysis of John Sayles's 1996 film, Lone Star, outlines a possible way out of a poststructuralist versus liberal theory impasse over incest, thus proposing movement in the direction of a democratic understanding of incest concerns.
Abstract: Prompted by the prominence of incest themes in the U.S. literary canon, the author raises and explores the idea of a “democratic theory of incest.” To that end, the paper uncovers, tracks, and documents the interest in incest throughout the Western canon of political thought. It then presents and addresses a “standoff” in theoretical circles today: whereas many nonliberal political theorists have continued and developed the canonical interest in the politics of incest, contemporary liberals have largely dropped out of that extended discussion. By way of a re-reading of Freud’s Totem and Taboo along with an analysis of John Sayles’s 1996 film, Lone Star, the paper outlines a possible way out of a poststructuralist versus liberal theory impasse over incest, thus proposing movement in the direction of a democratic understanding of incest concerns.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors consider the politics of tolerance through the lens of Spinoza's philosophy of immanence and argue that it provides us with a better conceptualisation of tolerance. But they do not consider how to apply it in practice.
Abstract: This paper considers the politics of tolerance through the lens of Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence. The contention is that Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence provides us with a better conceptualiz...


Journal ArticleDOI
Laura Ephraim1
TL;DR: The two-worlds ontology that underwrites the two-sciences settlement was proposed by Giambattisa Vico as mentioned in this paper, who argued that Vico's vision of ontological hybridity offers more robust support to Perestroika goals of methodological pluralism.
Abstract: The Perestroika movement recently reopened longstanding debates about the scholarly and political implications of orienting political science research around a scientific ideal derived from the natural sciences. Many Perestroikans, like earlier critics of “naturalized” political science, turned to ontology, opposing the political world to the natural world to espouse what I call a two-sciences settlement: a separate-but-equal arrangement in which political science and natural science would each operate according to distinct methodological imperatives dictated by their distinctive objects. In this article, I critically appraise this divided settlement and the two-worlds ontology that underwrites it. I recover an alternative, less dualistic vision of politics and nature from Giambattisa Vico, challenging received views of him as an early architect of the two-sciences settlement. Vico’s vision of ontological hybridity, I argue, offers more robust support to the Perestroikan goals of methodological pluralism ...