Political conflict in our society is inevitable, and its results are often far from negative. How then should we deal with the intractable differences arising from complex modern culture?Developing her groundbreaking political philosophy of agonistics – the search for a radical and plural democracy – Chantal Mouffe examines international relations, strategies for radical pPolitical conflict in our society is inevitable, and its results are often far from negative. How then should we deal with the intractable differences arising from complex modern culture?Developing her groundbreaking political philosophy of agonistics – the search for a radical and plural democracy – Chantal Mouffe examines international relations, strategies for radical politics, the future of Europe and the politics of artistic practices. She shows that in many circumstances where no alternatives seem possible, agonistics offers a new road map for change. Engaging with cosmopolitanism, post-operaism, and theories of multiple modernities she argues in favour of a multipolar world with real cultural and political pluralism.From the Trade Paperback edition....
|Title||:||Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically|
|Number of Pages||:||176 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically Reviews
There's an interview with author Chantal Mouffe at the end of the book. I found it a helpful intro to the concepts she discusses in the book. Wish it had been placed at the beginning.
Reading Chantal Mouffe, I actually felt hope like I haven’t felt in a long time! It was a refreshing take and I view it as a starting point to initiating some form of social change. As I read visionary philosophers such as Freire, Dewey, Greene, Ikeda in the past, who believe in the innate humane goodness, I was always inspired with their work & core philosophy re-affirming my belief in the humanistic approach. Indubitably, I still believe in their overarching vision but have been completely lost as to how does one move from the current reality of our world to this idealistic way of being where everyone is deeply respectful, working for the welfare of others and co-creating egalitarian ways of being. Paradoxically, Mouffe identifies antagonism and hegemony to be at the center of human interaction and social relations. The recognition of these factors does reflect the reality of current individual, communal, national and global relationships. And even though everyone’s reality is different and dynamic, we cannot not acknowledge the injustices, intolerance and dominant hegemonic powers currently at play.She proposes the idea of agonism, which indicates the struggles between adversaries. She differentiates adversaries with enemies, as adversaries are encouraged to operate within the same principles of framework for instance, equality and justice, but are free to interpret these principles differently and put forth conflicting opinions. In fact, she believes that it is these conflicting opinions that form the basis of democracy, where everyone has the ability to express their thoughts, beliefs, worldviews etc. and re-align the operating power relations. Given her position that is, being from Belgium, I believe she writes keeping the United States in mind, given the dominant place it has held post World War II. With Europe losing its centrality, this theory propounds the possibility of multiple hegemonic entities re-entering the space of power. With all the privileges that Europe has, based on its past historical and social context, it may not be that difficult for Europe to re-negotiate its hegemonic position in the world. And to begin with, would she even be writing about this theory, had Europe been the current sole hegemonic power.A confrontation between conflicting hegemonic positions assumes that everyone is on equal grounds to even be able to engage in this confrontation. However, for nations and collective identities of historically marginalized groups, how do they acquire the required power to participate in this hegemonic battle? Since, the people in power are already dominating factors and systems such as media, money, education that own, influence and shape mindsets. Furthermore, there is an assumption that both opponents will share a common allegiance to the overarching goals / vision. I do think it’s interesting that she deems that the western idea of liberal democracy is not applicable to the rest of the world and each nation should interpret what does democracy mean for them, their collective identities and their nation. The example of the Middle East forming democracy based on Islam and the Sharia Law, based on divine sovereignty made for a thought-provoking example. I began wondering what does that mean for India’s current democracy. In many ways, the constitution has been most far-sighted with regards to encouraging being secular, a sovereign republic, standing for justice, equality, fraternity and liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Having several communities and states, democracy to a large extent has meant the co-existence of diversity in the nation. The current Government, being right wing, is posing endless challenges to this vision of inclusiveness. This leads to my next thought on the power of the multitude, as highlighted by Chantal. She strongly believes that if the multitude would come together, they would be able to create effective counter-hegemonic movements. An example comes to mind in the landscape of Indian democracy. A politician’s son, had walked scott-free after shooting a girl in front of several witnesses because of the money and power his family possessed, was only indicted and jailed after multitude of people protested on the streets. It was solely the power of the public that had ensured this girl received justice. Nonetheless, how does one encourage the daily engagement of the multitude in the functioning of the country? These movements manifest with power once in a blue moon, when a number of factors are weaved together. How does one sustain these movements, which would then enable continual checks on the existing hegemonies? Moreover, there are so many variables, such as multitudes resulting in mob madness, who are not always tied together by the same goal. And I do think it’s exhausting that leadership, who have been elected to serve the best interests of the people, are not expected to be self-accountable!Mouffe notes that one doesn’t ‘reach a rational fully inclusive consensus without exclusion but sublimate passions by creating collective forms of identification around democratic objectives’, however, the point is who is designing these democratic objectives that everyone is conflictingly working towards? And how does the design of these objectives include / exclude groups / communities / nations in the foundation itself! She does emphasize deeply the demarcation between the ‘us’ and ‘they’ especially with regards to different ideologies being represented by political parties so that people can have a sense of belonging. Moving towards the center and not having extreme points of view on the political continuum, she find problematic. However, I am trying to understand how does moving towards the center imply lack of alternatives to existing hegemonic order? In fact, doesn’t one extreme for instance, the right, stand by policies that can possibly de-humanize people / collective groups, such as standing for gun violence, holding on to conservative views, being anti-homosexual / transgender rights / taking away the freedom from women to make a decision for their own bodies / imposing nationalism / excluding religious beliefs! She gives several examples of tools that can be used by the multitude to counter dominant hegemonies. For instance, she highlights the role of the media and how it can be the mirror for people to know the truth. However, the media has its own subjectivities, interpretations and power dynamics because of which it needs to be looked at critically. I do think that aesthetics play an integral role in creating spaces that can in turn re-articulate cultural practices and influence power relations. On an additional note, I do want to emphasize though that Berlusconi, who she mentions extensively as being the political leader who was driven out of the hegemonic system, has just made a comeback to Italian politics declaring himself to be the Grandfather of Italy!
Fell asleep twice. An agony full of post-marxist cliches, e.g. "Trojan horse of neo-liberalism" or "American hegemony". The book is as slow, as leftist, as lost in time and space, as the whole Europe is. Parts on artistic practices and the interview in the end would be more than enough.
Good rehearsal of Mouffe's agonistic understanding of the 'political' in relation to a range of current conjunctures, but slightly disconcerting to see how easily her idea of a politics organised around the 'constitutive outside' becomes a predictable analysis of each of those conjunctures. Nice observations on the consensual assumptions underpinning Occupy rhetoric.
Mouffe no dice: "The years in which the hegemony of neo-liberalism was unchallenged have fortunately come to a close. With the multiplication of protest movements, we are witnessing a renewed interest in a type of radical politics that might be able to bring about an alternative to the current neo-liberal globalization…"
Mouffe truly uses "Schmitt against Schmitt" throughout her work. Even though I disagree with some of her conclusions (such as the idea that liberal democracy can be transformed,) I genuinely appreciate her honest reformism. Her critiques of certain "post-political" theorists are on-point, noentheless.
Str. 56- ...da nobeden del človeštva ne premore formule, ki bi bila veljavna za ves svet -in da si je nemogoče zamišljati človeštvo, poenoteno z enim samim načinom življenja, kajti v tem primeru bi človeška kultura popolnoma okostnela.
This book has some interesting essays and clarifies Mouffe's views on a few issues, but it doesn't add much new material to her thought writ large.
Eerste essays zijn een waardevolle uiteenzetting van het debat, met smaakvolle kritiek. Haar uitwerking in hoofdstuk 4 vond ik minder sterk.