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Contemporary Political Theory

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 498–518 | Cite as

Rethinking radical democracy

  • Paulina TambakakiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Over the course of three decades, vocabularies of radical democracy have pressed their stamp on democratic thought. Trading on the intuition that there is more to democracy than elections, they have generated critical insights into the important role that practices of pluralisation and critique play in bettering institutional politics. As a result, few would today deny the radical democratic contribution to democratic thought. What many might question, however, is its continuing traction. The article probes this question, focusing on the nuanced place of democracy in contemporary radical work. It grapples with the difficulties that this poses for radical democrats, and it suggests that a way of overcoming these difficulties – that threaten to undermine the coherence of radical democracy – is to rethink and reconstruct the distinctiveness of its vocabulary. The article attempts such a reconstruction. It develops the idea of the promissory rule of the many, and it discusses the ways that this idea rejuvenates broader democratic thought.

Keywords

promise democracy many people popular rule radical 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of DemocracyUniversity of WestminsterLondonUK

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