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Aversive Democracy
Inheritance and Originality in the Democratic Tradition


  • Date Published: December 2007
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521878425

£ 72.00

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About the Authors
  • The twenty-first century has brought a renewed interest in democratic theory and practices, creating a complicated relationship between time-honoured democratic traditions and new forms of political participation. Reflecting on this interplay between tradition and innovation, Aletta J. Norval offers fresh insights into the global complexities of the formation of democratic subjectivity, the difficult emergence and articulation of political claims, the constitution of democratic relations between citizens and the deepening of our democratic imagination. Aversive Democracy draws inspiration from a critical engagement with deliberative and post-structuralist models of democracy, whilst offering a distinctive reading inspired by contemporary work on the later Wittgenstein. This is a creative and insightful work which reorients democratic theory, elucidating the character of the commitments we engage in when we participate in democratic life together.

    • Examines the comparative strengths and weaknesses of contemporary approaches to democracy
    • Explores the complex interplay between tradition and originality in thinking about democratic renewal
    • Discusses a wide range of political philosophy, from Wittgenstein to Derrida
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A profoundly thoughtful work that establishes Aletta Norval in the front rank of contemporary political theorists. Through a reciprocal elucidation of the insights and illusions of deliberative and post-structuralist approaches to democracy, Norval grounds a compelling argument for the value of a Wittgensteinian turn in democratic theory. Aversive Democracy promises to become a pivotal text for the future direction of radical democratic thought.' David Owen, University of Southampton

    'Building on Wittgenstein, Cavell and Derrida, Aletta Norval elucidates the intersubjective experience of critical democratic praxis ('aversive democracy') with an approach that reaches beyond agonistic and deliberative theories while preserving the gains of both.' James Tully, University of Victoria

    'Aversive Democracy should be read by deliberative democrats and post-structuralist radical democrats alike. Deliberative democrats should read the book for its careful and insightful critique of the emphasis on consensus and rationality in deliberative democracy. Post-structuralists should read the book for its careful development of a post-structuralist and radical democratic approach to democracy. In particular, Norval's attempt to develop a conception of democratic argumentation, subjectivity and community is praiseworthy.' Journal of Power

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521878425
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: towards an aversive account of democracy
    1. Democracy, universalization and (dis)agreement
    2. Democratic argumentation: rhetoric and imagination
    3. Democratic identification and aspect change
    4. Democratic subjectivity: the promise of democratic community
    5. Conclusion: aversive democracy: exemplarity, imagination and passion.

  • Author

    Aletta J. Norval, University of Essex
    Aletta J. Norval is Reader in Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. She is the author of Deconstructing Apartheid Discourse (1996).

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