Democratic Publics



This chapter is the first devoted to the group-based theory of politics. Its aim is to situate the pragmatist-based theory of publics in the context of the contemporary debate on the transformations of the public sphere, showing in particular that a pragmatist theory of democracy calls for a radical deconstruction of the Habermasian dualism of the state and the public sphere. Hannah Arendt’s notion of communicative power is discussed in relation to Follett’s theory of “power with”, and Habermas and Honneth’s theories of democracy are examined in turn. The chapter then engages contemporary economic and political theories of the commons, that I interpret as a political theory of public activation, one that helps us better grasp the political—and democratic—relevance of emerging economic practices such as peer production and political consumerism.


Public sphere Pragmatism Commons Axel Honneth John Dewey Jürgen Habermas Hannah Arendt 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Marc BlochBerlinGermany

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