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Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy

Romand Coles
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 332
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Gated Politics
    Book Description:

    Beyond Gated Politics argues that the survival of democracy depends on recognizing the failings of disengaged liberal democracy and experimenting with more radical modes of democratic theory and action. Romand Coles moves beyond the paradigms of political liberalism, deliberative democracy, and communitarian republicanism, cultivating modes of public discourse that reflect and sustain the creative tension at the heart of democratic life and responsibility._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9788-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxxvi)

    Is democracy sailing into a “perfect storm”? Is it about to plunge beneath mounting waves of transnational corporate and financial power, myriad fundamentalisms, neofascist megastates, gargantuan media conglomerates, ruthless neocolonial power, bloody state and nonstate terrorism, and environmental catastrophe? Perhaps the most formidable challenge today comes from new modes of power that weave tightly together several of the above in political articulations capable of penetrating social life ever more deeply, thoroughly, relentlessly, flexibly, and resiliently.¹ Although each new move to consolidate power meets democratic resistance, these new articulations thus far show a striking capacity to legitimate and intensify their development...

  5. 1 Tragedy’s Tragedy: Political Liberalism and Its Others
    (pp. 1-42)

    Political liberalism famously seeks to formulate a “public reason” that will orient and limit the terms and also themodesof democratic engagement. It has an impact on the latter partly through explicit formulations of how we are to act in political life but even more through the ways in which its texts conceptually engender an existential stance toward politics and performatively enact an attitude that has significant implications for political encounters. This posture, I shall argue, informs and inflects the terms of political discourse that it prescribes—equality, liberty, reciprocity, tolerance, fairness—in ways that have great influence. I...

  6. 2 Contesting Cosmopolitan Currency
    (pp. 43-78)

    Currency—which John Locke called a “fantastical imaginary value”¹—has long played a key role in modern narratives about the origin and development of the ever-more-productive selves, markets, and political organizations that have fostered globalization. Currency has been imagined as the medium of circulation that simultaneously establishes in market economies consent to (and thus legitimacy for) vast inequality and engenders a structure of valuation and devaluation that has played a key role in legitimating colonialism. That these two features of modernity, market economies and colonialism, so often work hand in hand is not unrelated to the way currency is at...

  7. 3 MacIntyre and the Confidence Trickster of Rivalish Tradition
    (pp. 79-108)

    Turning to Alasdair MacIntyre to explore possibilities for receptive generosity in democratic engagements across lines of difference will strike many as counterintuitive. Many read him as suggesting a retreat to isolated, homogeneous, and inwardly turned local communities that cultivate their own traditions and avoid contact with difference (construed as a “pluralism which threatens to submerge us all” into “new dark ages”).¹ The political imaginary he offers is often viewed as one in which difference and conflict are so diminished as to be incapable of shedding light upon my concerns—except as an exemplification of thebad. In political liberal narratives,...

  8. 4 The Wild Patience of John Howard Yoder
    (pp. 109-138)

    Many liberals and Christians share a profoundly impoverished imagination of how people might live well amid others who are radically different from themselves. Many early liberals, like Locke and John Stuart Mill, resisting other odious forms of power, nevertheless proliferated a series of stories that directly or indirectly legitimated the violent exclusion of many peoples and ways of life from the charmed circle of rational beings entitled to a serious hearing in the developing “democratic” spheres of deliberation, governance, and colonization. I have argued that this basic strategy (though now less violent and more inclusive in some important respects) remains...

  9. 5 Derrida and the Promise of Democracy
    (pp. 139-184)

    Jacques Derrida shares with MacIntyre the dubious fortune of having a large readership that—in celebration or dismissal—tends to register only one dimension of his thinking.¹ Yoder is read less but perhaps better. Just as many ignore difference, contestation, and vulnerability in MacIntyre and just as Yoder can be dismissed as “sectarian,” Derrida’s efforts to work energetically both with and beyond dialectics, phenomenological sense, reason, and democratic traditions have been most often missed as many readers register only the tropes of the messianic, of unanticipatability, and of ghostly alterity. These tropes are crucial to Derrida’s project, yet the vitality...

  10. 6 Feminists of Color and the Torn Virtues of Democratic Engagement
    (pp. 185-212)

    Few questions of democratic theory provoke as much disagreement as those concerning the legitimate scope and modes of disagreement and difference. This paradoxical situation produces uncontrollable effects within and around all efforts to theorize democratic responses to it. The paradox usually grows as we strengthen our efforts to discover a single paradigm within which we might resolve it. Typically, as advocates insist they possess an uncontestable framework for regulating disagreement, they simultaneously reinforce their deafness and provoke alternative positions that sharply reveal contingencies, blindness, and exclusions that they would deny, or disclose only in softer light. This often engendersressentiment...

  11. 7 Moving Democracy: The Political Arts of Listening, Traveling, and Tabling
    (pp. 213-238)

    In this chapter I explore a politics of nepantilist generosity through the lens of efforts to organize radical democracy in urban areas across the United States. In part I am interested in discerning possible textured ethical and political practices related to the stance I am exploring in this book. Yet far more importantly, I seek to learnfromthis radical democratic work about what democracy might mean today. In other words, I engage Industrial Areas Foundation politics not primarily as an example of a politics oftraditiothat would leave the general framework untouched but, rather, as a nexus of...

  12. 8 Reconsidering the Politics of Education
    (pp. 239-264)

    I began this book by noting several pressing dangers to democracy that have been gaining strength in recent decades. I have argued, in relation to a variety of idioms, that protecting democracy and helping it flourish depends on cultivating an ethos that is at once far more politically engaged, more generous, and more receptive to differences than the political liberal paradigm urges. Liberalism seeks to protect freedom in a way that often accents an ethos of tolerance according to which people should leave one another alone to pursue their own goods within the limits of the “harm principle” (tightly or...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 265-290)
  14. Index
    (pp. 291-293)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 294-294)