Contemporary Political Theory

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 282–310 | Cite as

The Democratic Production of Political Cohesion: Partisanship, Institutional Design and Life Form

  • Richard Bellamy
  • Matteo Bonotti
  • Dario CastiglioneEmail author
  • Joseph Lacey
  • Sofia Näsström
  • David Owen
  • Jonathan White
Critical Exchange

What binds a democratic society together? This would seem a well-rehearsed topic in modern political theory, but on closer scrutiny, it may appear less so. If we reformulate the question, it may become clearer why: what binds democraticsociety together? The emphasis on ‘democratic’ is the clue here. Much recent discussion on the cohesive force in democracies has been parasitic on other debates, such as that between cosmopolitans and communitarians on justice as the first virtue of society; that between nation-state-based and post-national views of contemporary politics or that about the cultural aspects of democratic citizenship as the glue that makes democracy work. All such views and debates tend to assume a somewhat ‘externalist’ perspective, so to speak, of the problem of cohesion in democracies. Cosmopolitans and liberal communitarians have argued over the relative importance of values and identity as the basis for the stability of a just society, whose legitimate political...



This Critical Exchange originated from a Symposium on ‘New Approaches to Political Cohesion in Democratic Systems’ organised by the Centre for Political Thought of the University of Exeter (UK) on 29 November 2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Bellamy
    • 1
  • Matteo Bonotti
    • 2
  • Dario Castiglione
    • 3
    Email author
  • Joseph Lacey
    • 4
  • Sofia Näsström
    • 5
  • David Owen
    • 6
  • Jonathan White
    • 7
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Monash UniversityClayton, MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.University of ExeterExeterUK
  4. 4.University College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  5. 5.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  6. 6.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  7. 7.London School of EconomicsLondonUK

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