This pioneering book delivers a systematic account of agonistic democracy, and a much-needed analysis of the core components of agonism: pluralism, tragedy, and the value of conflict. It also traces the history of these ideas, identifying the connections with republicanism and with Greek antiquity. Mark Wenman presents a critical appraisal of the leading contemporary proponents of agonism and, in a series of well-crafted and comprehensive discussions, brings these thinkers into debate with one another, as well as with the post-structuralist and continental theorists who influence them. Wenman draws extensively on Hannah Arendt, and stresses the creative power of human action as augmentation and revolution. He also reworks Arendt's discussion of reflective judgement to present an alternative style of agonism, one where the democratic contest is linked to the emergence of a militant form of cosmopolitanism, and to prospects for historical change in the context of neoliberal globalisation.
Mark Wenman is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Nottingham, where he teaches contemporary political theory and the history of political thought. He has published articles on agonistic democracy and post-structuralism in leading academic journals, including Contemporary Political Theory, Philosophy and Social Criticism and Political Studies. Mark is a founding member of CONCEPT: The Nottingham Centre for Normative Political Theory.
Part I: Introduction: agonism and the constituent power; 1. Agonism: pluralism, tragedy, and the value of conflict; 2. Democracy: the constituent power as augmentation and/or revolution; Part II: 3. An ethos of agonistic respect: William E. Connolly; 4. Agonistic struggles for independence: James Tully; 5. Agonism and the problem of antagonism: Chantal Mouffe; 6. Agonism and the paradoxes of (re)foundation: Bonnie Honig; Part III: 7. Agonism and militant cosmopolitanism; Conclusion: agonism after the end of history.