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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One of the principal theses that I have defended in my work is that properly political questions always involve decisions which require a choice between alternatives that are undecidable from a strictly rational point of view.

Chantal Mouffe, Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism? – PhilPapers

Properly political questions always involve decisions which require us to make a choice between conflicting alternatives. They do not seem to realize that the democratic advances that have taken place there, as well as in other South American countries in the last ten years, have been made possible thanks to an articulation of extra-parliamentary and parliamentary struggles. Contrary to what neo-liberal ideologists would like us to believe, political questions are not mere technical issues to be solved by experts.

It cannot recognize that there can only be an identity when it is constructed as difference and that any social objectivity is jouffe through acts of power. This page was last edited on 30 Octoberat Every order is the temporary and precarious articulation of contingent practices. Agonism is not simply the undifferentiated celebration of antagonism:.

If this is missing, there is always the danger that this democratic confrontation will be replaced by a confrontation between non-negotiable moral values or essentialist forms of identification. Thank you for your feedback. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Sign in Create an account. What they demand are better, more inclusive forms of representation. The mokffe issue concerns the agonisstic forms of critical art, the different ways in which artistic practices can contribute to questioning the dominant hegemony.

Page – – Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 3: This is an issue that I have examined in previous works, and it might be useful to revisit some of the arguments of this discussion to clarify what is at stake in the current dispute. In my view, it is the incapacity of democratic parties to provide distinctive forms of identifications around possible alternatives that has created the terrain for the current flourishing of mouffs populism.


This consensus, which is the result of the unchallenged hegemony of neo-liberalism, deprives democratic citizens of an agonistic debate where they can make their voices heard and choose between real alternatives. The agonistic model that I propose acknowledges the contingent character of the hegemonic articulations that determine the specific configuration of a society at a given moment; as pragmatic and contingent constructions, they can always be disarticulated and transformed by the agonistic struggle.

What is needed in order to fight against right wing populism is the formation of a left-wing populism, a populism in which the adversary is not constructed in a xenophobic for example, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim way, but as a collective will aiming at an alternative to neo-liberal globalization whose adversary is constituted by the forces behind this project, for instance, the multinationals, the financial corporations. This does not mean, though, as some seem to believe, that they could alone realize the transformations needed for the establishment of a new hegemony.

What I mean is that, while Arendt puts great emphasis on agonisttic plurality and insists that politics deals with the community and reciprocity of human beings which are different, she never acknowledges that this plurality is at the origin of antagonistic conflicts. It is precisely to this that the category of hegemony refers, and it indicates that every society mpuffe the product of practices that seek to institute an order in a context of contingency.

This article has multiple issues. The story explains agonistics as “You can compete, and you can win, but you can never win once-and-for-all”. The most important consequence is that it challenges the widespread conception that, albeit in different ways, informs most visions of the public space conceived as the terrain where consensus can emerge.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics

Mouffe derived this understanding of the importance of conflict to politics from the German jurist Carl Schmitt. When democratic politics has lost aonistic capacity to shape the discussion about how we should organize our common life, and when it is limited to securing the necessary conditions for the smooth working of the market, the conditions are ripe for talented demagogues to articulate popular frustration.

Duke University Press, he argues for a radicalisation of democracy through the development of a new democratic ethos among citizens. Liberalismpolitical doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. It is merely a competition among elites. It is clear that in the current conditions such a project cannot be conceived in national terms alone, and that it needs to be envisaged at a European level.

Once we accept that identities are never pre-given but that they are always the result of processes of identification, that they are discursively constructed, the question that arises is the type of identity that critical artistic moufde should aim at fostering.


John RawlsAmerican political and ethical philosopher, best known for his defense of egalitarian liberalism in his major work, A Theory of Justice Mouuffe using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. It is a struggle between opposing hegemonic projects which can never be reconciled rationally.

Its aim is to highlight the fact that the creation of an identity implies the establishment of a difference, a difference that is often constructed on the basis of a hierarchy: This paper examines the most recent paradigm of liberal democracy: Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article.

Home About Search Browse. Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces Chantal Mouffe Can artistic practices still play a critical role in a society where the difference between art and advertizing have become blurred and where artists and cultural workers have become a aggonistic part of capitalist production?

The critical conception of agonism developed by Adorno and Foucault emphasizes how aspects of competition can be utilized to reinforce the project of domination that is evident in the geopolitics of modernity.

There is an aesthetic dimension in the political and there is a political dimension in art. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. The French situation can also provide interesting elements for reflection. 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: Adorno also sees agonism as the underlying principle in Hegel ‘s dialectic of history where “dialectics growth through conflict is the ontology of the wrong state of things.

The principal objective of these authors is to prevent the closure of debate and to give free rein to the expression of plurality. The right state of things would be free of it: It is in this context that we can grasp the very pernicious consequences of the fashionable thesis put forward by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddenswho both argue that the adversarial model of politics has become obsolete.