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Agonistic Democracy

Norval, AJ (2014) 'Agonistic Democracy.' In: Gibbons, M, (ed.) Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Wiley. ISBN 9781118474396

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Agonistic political theory follows the Greeks in taking contest and struggle to stand at the heart of politics, and seeks to work out the consequences of this insight for thinking about democracy, political subjectivity, the ethos of politics, and our relation to political norms and institutions. In ?Homer's Contest? Nietzsche offers an interpretation of Greek culture that foregrounds a life of struggle and of victory as legitimate and as a source of joy. Drawing on Hesiod's Works and Days, Nietzsche draws a distinction between Eris as a goddess who leads men to fight hostile wars of extermination, and Eris who stirs men to the action of contest. Conflict, he points out, is treated as a precondition for the well-being of the state. It is also a precondition for developing the capacities of citizens. ?Every talent,? Nietzsche suggests, ?must unfurl itself struggling.? The core of the Hellenic concept of contest is that ?it abhors sovereign mastery, and fears its dangers; it desires, as protection against the one genius ? a second genius?. As a consequence, while valuing conflict, agonism sets limits to competition, for, without it, one would have only the violent world of the evil Eris.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: contestation; democracy; passions
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2014 09:48
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:42

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