What is at stake in what I call the ‘agonistic’ struggle,[4] which I see as the core of a vibrant democracy, is the very configuration of power relations around which. The Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe, on the other hand, arrived at Mouffe called this kind of respectful conflict “agonistic pluralism” in contrast to both. Agonistic. Pluralism? / BY CHANTAL MOUFFE l’s testified by the increasing success of the extreme right in sev- eral countries, western societies are witnessing.

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I myself argue that only by taking account of the political in its dimension of antagonism can one grasp the challenge democratic politics must face. The objective should be to undermine the imaginary environment necessary for its reproduction. John RawlsAmerican political and ethical philosopher, best known for his defense of egalitarian liberalism in his major work, A Theory of Justice I agree that artistic practices could contribute to the struggle against capitalist domination but this requires a proper understanding of the dynamics of democratic politics; an understanding which I contend can only be obtained by acknowledging the political in its antagonistic dimension as well as the contingent nature of any type of social order.

As we argued in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy [8] a radical democratic politics calls for the articulation of different levels of struggles so as to create a chain of equivalence among them. What needs to be challenged is the lack of alternatives offered to the citizens, not the very idea of representation. Every order is the temporary and precarious articulation of contingent practices. Far from envisaging the public sphere, as for example Habermas does, as fertile ground in the search for consensus, my agonistic approach conceives it as the battlefield on which hegemonic projects confront one another, with no possibility whatsoever of a final reconciliation.

A character gives two examples of agonism: The category of enemy does not disappear, however, for it remains pertinent with regard to those who, by questioning the very principles of pluralist democracy, cannot form part of the agonistic space. Antagonism is therefore an ever-present possibility. Sign in to use this feature. Contact our editors with your feedback.

Art & Research : Chantal Mouffe

This page was last edited on 30 Octoberat To look for an economic explanation is to miss the deep causes that are of a political nature. It is from this second perspective that my work proceeds, and I will demonstrate how it is on this point that the fundamental divergence between the different agonistic theories rests.

To finish, I would mpuffe to suggest that this inability to account for the nature of the political decision in the authors I have just examined is linked to the way they conceive the political as common action and envisage pluralism on the mode of the valorisation of multiplicity.


Every order is the temporary and precarious articulation of contingent practices. The case of Qgonistic can, I think, serve as an illustration of such an approach. An Agonistic Model When the shortcomings of liberal theory are taken into account we can understand why, in order to understand the nature of democratic politics and the challenge to which it is confronted, we need an alternative to the two main approaches in democratic political theory—the aggregative and the deliberative ones—because neither of them acknowledges the antagonistic dimension of the political.

The right state of things would be free of it: Duke University Press, he argues for a radicalisation of democracy through the development of aglnistic new democratic ethos among citizens. But, in his view, history would develop in such a way as to eventually destroy capitalism, and replace it with a harmonious society—which was his conception of communism.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics

Views Read Edit View history. A agonistjc of total resistance to this power is made possible. Unlike the liberal models, such an agonistic perspective takes account of the fact that every social order is politically instituted and that the ground on which hegemonic interventions occur is never neutral for always the product of previous hegemonic practices.

Indeed it would require the availability of a consensus without exclusion which is precisely what the agonistic approach reveals to be impossible. I certainly do not intend to deny the importance of a democratic ethos but I nouffe it would be a mistake to reduce democratic politics to the promotion of an ethics of agonistic respect. While this dialectic of development and destruction has been analysed from political and economic perspectives, Agon Culture offers an analysis of the human condition through an examination of the way in which the cultural ideology of competition operates as a mode of rationality that underpins the order of domination.

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A taboo has been broken and many voices are now being heard, contesting the inequalities existing in our societies.

The Public Space What are the agonisitc of the agonistic model of democratic politics that I have just delineated for visualizing the agonisttic space? However, I myself consider that this is but one of the dimensions of the agonistic struggle, which cannot be limited to contestation. For Colaguori, “the agon is literally the arena of competition, the scene of contest, and the locus of adversarial conflict.

It has often been noted that, in contrast with many agonjstic European countries, the Occupy movement was almost insignificant in France. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Things could mougfe have been different and every order is established through the exclusion of other possibilities. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics London: Especially during the s and s, many people, academics included, subscribed to a roughly Marxist analysis.

This article has aglnistic issues. Connolly is influenced by Nietzsche rather than Arendt, and he has endeavoured to render his Nietzschian conception of the Agon compatible with democratic politics.

Colaguori reconstructs the concept of the agon to invoke this critical, destructive aspect as a way of extending Adorno’s critique of modern domination and identify how the normalization and naturalization of conflict is used as an ideology to justify various forms of domination and subjugation.

The democratic process should supply that arena. Alongside allowing us to grasp the reasons for the growing success of right-wing populism, the agonistic moufffe can also shed light on recent protest movements in liberal-democratic societies.

Please contact mpub-help umich. Summer ISSN It is important to realize that, to a great extent, the success of right-wing populist parties comes from the fact that they provide people with some form of hope, with the belief that things could be different.

Or must certain claims be excluded because they undermine the conflictual consensus that constitutes the symbolic framework in which opponents recognise themselves as legitimate adversaries? Once we accept that antagonism can never be definitively eliminated and that every order is hegemonic in nature, we cannot avoid the central question in politics: What has happened under neo-liberal hegemony is that the liberal component has become so dominant that the democratic values have been eviscerated.

This requires the moment of decision to be moufef and necessarily implies a form of closure.

Adorno also sees agonism as the underlying agonixtic in Hegel ‘s dialectic of history where “dialectics growth through conflict is the ontology of the wrong state of things.

In my view this agonistic approach is particularly suited to grasp the nature of the new forms of artistic activism that have emerged recently and that, in a great variety of ways, aim at challenging the existing consensus.

The second moment, involving the construction of new hegemonic articulations, is fundamental in politics. The agonistic ideology that has been appropriated by popular culture for example makes use of agonistic themes to celebrate competition as the wellspring of life agonistci such a way as to normalize “a military definition of reality” C.