Enlarging Democracy



This chapter provides an overview of contemporary approaches in social and political theory that in a way or another anticipate mine. I critically examine theories of democracy stemming from a plurality of European and Anglo-American traditions, with the aim of showing what is still missing there, and why a pragmatist wide view of democracy accomplishes something that no other theory has achieved so far. The different theories I examine are organized in three main categories: (1) theories of democracy which have accomplished a significant advancement in expanding the scope of democracy to one or another limited sphere of social reality (the family, the workplace, the public sphere, etc.); (2) theories conceiving democracy as an event external to the functioning of political regimes, and (3) theories which conceive democracy as a global, or holistic category of social thought. I contend that my approach is inscribed within this third category, and show differences and similarities with other main approaches.


Democratic theory Democratic ethos Associative democracy Participation Deliberation Public sphere Social ontology 


  1. Alexander, J. (2006). The civil sphere. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almond, G. (1993). The study of political culture. In Berg-Schlosser, D. and R. Rytlewski, pp. 13–27.Google Scholar
  3. Almond, G. and S. Verba (1963). The civic culture: Political attitudes and democracy in five nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Almond, G. and S. Verba (1980). The civic culture revisited: An analytic study. Boston: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  5. Arendt, H. (2006). On revolution (1st ed. 1963 ed.). London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  6. Bassett, K. (2014). Rancière, politics, and the occupy movement. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32(5), 886–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berg-Schlosser, D. and R. Rytlewski (1993). Political culture in Germany. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bohman, J. (2007). Democracy across Borders. From Dêmos to Dêmoi. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bray, D. (2011). Pragmatic Cosmopolitanism: Representation and Leadership in Transnational Democracy. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter, A. (1979). Authority and Democracy. Routledge & Paul.Google Scholar
  11. Celikates, R. (2015). Against manichaeism: The politics of forms of life and the possibilities of critique. Raisons politiques (1), 81–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, J. and A. Arato (1994). Civil society and political theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cohen, J. and J. Rogers (1992). Secondary associations and democratic governance. Politics & Society 20(4), 393–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dewey, J. (1888). The ethics of democracy. The Early Works, vol. 1, pp. 227–250. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Dewey, J. (1936). The Social Significance of Academic Freedom. The Later Works, 1925–1953, vol. 11, pp. 376–379. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Dumont, L. (1976). Homo aequalis. Paris: Gallimard, 1976.Google Scholar
  17. Eckstein, H. (1997). Congruence theory explained. Technical report, UC Irvine. CSD Working Papers.Google Scholar
  18. Eckstein, H. and T. Gurr (1975). Patterns of authority: A structural basis for political inquiry. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Ehrenberg, J. (1999). Civil Society: The Critical History of an Idea. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Eliasoph, N. (1998). Avoiding politics: How Americans produce apathy in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferrarese, E. and S. Laugier (2015). Politique des formes de vie. Raisons politiques 57(1), pp. 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Flynn, B. (2005). The philosophy of Claude Lefort: Interpreting the political. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Frega, R. (2014). The normative creature: Toward a practice-based account of normativity. Social Theory and Practice 40(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frega, R. (2017c). Pragmatizing critical theory’s province. Dewey Studies 1(2), 4–47.Google Scholar
  25. Frega, R. (2017d). The wide view of democracy. Thesis Eleven 140(1), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gunnell, J. (2004). Imagining the American polity: Political Science and the discourse of democracy. University Park: Penn State Press.Google Scholar
  27. Habermas, J. (1976). Legitimation Crisis. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  28. Habermas, J. (1996). Between Facts and Norms. Cambridge: Polity Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hirst, P. (1993). Associative democracy: New forms of economic and social governance. London: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  30. Honneth, A. (2005). A physiognomy of the capitalist form of life: A sketch of Adorno’s social theory. Constellations 12(1), 50–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Honneth, A. (2014). Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life. Cambridge: Polity.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Honneth, A. (2015). Die Idee des Sozialismus. Versuch einer Aktualisierung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  33. Inglehart, R. and C. Welzel (2005). Modernization, cultural change, and democracy: The human development sequence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jaeggi, R. (2014). Kritik von Lebensformen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  35. Jaeggi, R. (2015). Towards an immanent critique of forms of life. Raisons politiques (1), 13–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kalyvas, A. (2005). Popular Sovereignty, Democracy, and the Constituent Power. Constellations 12(2), 223–244.Google Scholar
  37. Laugier, S. (2015). La vulnérabilité des formes de vie. Raisons politiques (1), 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Laugier, S. (2018). La démocratie comme enquête et comme forme de vie. Multitudes (2), 157–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lefort, C. (1986). Essais sur le politique. Paris: Éd. du Seuil.Google Scholar
  40. Lefort, C. (1999). La complication: retour sur le communisme. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  41. Loick, D. (2017). 21 theses on the politics of forms of life. Theory & Event 20(3), 788–803.Google Scholar
  42. Lorey, I. (2014). The 2011 occupy movements: Rancière and the crisis of democracy. Theory, Culture & Society 31(7–8), 43–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marshall, T. (2009). Citizenship and Social Class. In J. Manza and M. Sauder (Eds.), Inequality and Society. New York: Norton and Co.Google Scholar
  45. Norris, P. (2011). Democratic deficit. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ogien, A. (2015). La démocratie comme revendication et comme forme de vie. Raisons politiques 57(1), 31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Oskian, G. (2015). Tocqueville e le basi giuridiche della democrazia. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  48. Pateman, C. (1971). Political culture, political structure and political change. British Journal of Political Science 1(3), 291–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Putnam, R. (1994). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton university press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  51. Rancière, J. (1998). Aux bords du politique. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  52. Rancière, J. (2000). La partage du sensible: esthétique et politique. Paris: La fabrique éditions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rancière, J. (2014). Hatred of democracy. London: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  54. Rosanvallon, P. (1993). L’histoire du mot démocratie à l’époque moderne. In P. Rosanvallon, P. Manent, and M. Gauchet (Eds.), Situations de la démocratie, pp. 11–29. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  55. Rosanvallon, P. (2008). Counter-Democracy. Politics in an Age of Distrust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rosenblum, N. (1998). Membership and morals: The personal uses of pluralism in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sartori, G. (1987). The theory of democracy visited. Part 1: The contemporary debate. New York: Chatham House.Google Scholar
  58. Seligman, A. (1995). The idea of civil society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Shin, D. C. (2011). Confucianism and democratization in East Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Urbinati, N. (2006). Representative democracy: Principles and genealogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Urbinati, N. (2014). Democracy Disfigured. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang, M. (2011). Emerging civil society in China, 1978–2008, Volume 7. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  63. Warren, M. (2001). Democracy and association. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Welzel, C. (2013). Freedom rising. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wolin, S. (1994a). Fugitive democracy. Constellations 1(1), 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolin, S. (1994b). Norm and form: The constitutionalizing of democracy. In P. Euben, J. Wallasch, and J. Ober (Eds.), Athenian Political Thought and the Reconstruction of American Democracy, pp. 29–58. New Jersey: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Zhenglai, D. (Ed.) (2011). State and Civil Society. The Chinese Perspective. New Jersey: World Scientific.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Marc BlochBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations