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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Without a profound transformation in the way democratic politics is envisaged, and without a serious attempt to address the lack of forms of identifications that would allow for a democratic mobilization of passions, the challenge posed by right wing populist parties will remain and even increase. I also want to insist on a second important point.

This is, of course, what explains the success of Marine Le Pen in France and the fact that many French workers now vote for the Front National. Education, discipline that is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like….

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 in such a way as to normalize “a military definition of reality” C.

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. 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.

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.

It is precisely to this that the category of hegemony refers, and it indicates that every society is the product of practices that seek to institute an order in a context of contingency. This has led some people to claim that art had lost its critical power because any form of critique is automatically recuperated and neutralized by capitalism.


What is the best way to envisage democratic politics? What is important here is to acknowledge that the very condition of possibility for the formation of political identities is at the same time the condition of impossibility of a society from which antagonism would have been eliminated. 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 mpuffe Top of next column.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics

According to the agonistic approach, public spaces are always plural and the agonistic confrontation takes place in a multiplicity of discursive surfaces. It is a real confrontation, but one that is played out under conditions regulated by a set of democratic procedures accepted by the adversaries.

Political Theory in Social and Political Philosophy. Clearly those who advocate mouffd creation of agonistic public spaces, where the objective is to unveil all that is repressed by the dominant consensus are going to envisage the relation between artistic practices and their public in a very different way than those whose objective is the creation of consensus, even if this consensus is seen as mouvfe critical one. The typical liberal understanding of pluralism is that we live in a world in which there are indeed many perspectives moouffe values and that, due to empirical limitations, agoniztic will never be able to adopt them all, but that, when moffe together, they constitute an harmonious ensemble.

Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. A character gives two examples of agonism: This incapacity to think politically, is to a great extent due to the uncontested hegemony of liberalism. Views Read Edit View history. It is necessary at this point to introduce the category of hegemony, which will enable us to identify the nature of the agonistic struggle.

How should democratic politics deal with conflict? Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed.

Agonism – Wikipedia

According to the agonistic approach, critical art is art that foments dissensus, that makes visible what the dominant consensus tends to obscure miuffe obliterate. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. We find this distinction between the political and politics in the other agonistic theories, though not always with the same signification. In other words, must all positions be considered legitimate and must they be granted a place inside the agonistic public sphere?


This is why this type of liberalism must negate the political in its antagonistic dimension.

It is therefore urgent to abandon the illusions of the consensual model of politics and to create the bases of an agonistic public sphere. It would be a serious mistake to believe that artistic activism could, on its own, bring about the end of neo-liberal hegemony.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. History of Western Philosophy. The thesis I defend is that only once the ineradicable character of division and antagonism is recognised does it become possible to think in a properly political manner. But, then, why did we see several Occupy camps in Germany where the economic conditions are better? Indeed, Beck proposes that the generalized skepticism and centrality of doubt that are prevalent today preclude the emergence of antagonistic relations.

Any text you add should be original, agonisgic copied from other sources. Understood as the refusal of the post-political order, current protests can be read as a call for a radicalization of existing democratic institutions, not for their rejection. Critical artistic practices and hegemony What kind of link can we establish between this theoretical discussion and the field of artistic practices? We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. In a pluralist democracy, such disagreements are not only legitimate but also necessary.

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.

Adversaries fight against each other because they want their interpretation to become hegemonic, but they do agonisttic put into question the right of their opponents to fight for the victory of their position.