What is at stake in what I call the ‘agonistic’ struggle,[4] which I see as the core of a vibrant democracy, is the very configuration of power relations around which. The Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe, on the other hand, arrived at Mouffe called this kind of respectful conflict “agonistic pluralism” in contrast to both. Agonistic. Pluralism? / BY CHANTAL MOUFFE l’s testified by the increasing success of the extreme right in sev- eral countries, western societies are witnessing.

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Once this illusion is abandoned, jointly with the revolutionary conception of politics accompanying it, we can see that agonustic artistic practices represent an important dimension of democratic politics.

Sign in Create an account. In The Democratic Paradox I miuffe that Western liberal democracy is the articulation of two traditions: Contrary to the various liberal models, the agonistic approach that I am advocating recognizes that society is always politically instituted and never forgets that the terrain in which hegemonic interventions take place is always the outcome of previous hegemonic practices and that it is never an neutral one.

Victory through forfeit or default, or over an unworthy opponent, comes up short compared to a defeat at the hands of a worthy opponent—a defeat that still brings honor.

No doubt, a consensus at the center between center-right and center-left has also been installed in France, but the belief in the power of politics to change things has not been waning as in other European countries. This consensus, which is the result of the unchallenged hegemony of neo-liberalism, deprives democratic citizens of an agonistic debate where they can make their voices heard and choose between real alternatives.

Public spaces are always striated and hegemonically structured. It accepts a permanent place for such conflict, but seeks to show how people might accept and channel this positively. According to Arendt, to think politically consists in developing the ability to see things from a multiplicity of perspectives.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Top of next column. This erases the dimension of the political and impedes envisaging in an adequate manner the nature of a pluralistic democratic public sphere. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

I agree that artistic practices could contribute to the struggle against capitalist domination but this requires a proper understanding of the dynamics of democratic politics; an understanding which I contend can only be obtained by acknowledging the political in its antagonistic dimension as well as the contingent nature of any type of social order.


The most important consequence is that it challenges the widespread conception that, albeit in different ways, informs most visions of the public space conceived as the terrain where consensus can emerge. The aesthetic strategies of the counter-culture: This is why a democratic society requires a debate about possible alternatives. It all depends on how the adversary is defined. For Adorno, agonism is also about the ” theodicy of conflict” where opponents “want to annihilate one another The democratic process should supply that arena.

In a nutshell, my argument goes as follows. And this supposes a theoretical approach that does not deny the antagonistic dimension of the political.

Agonism – Wikipedia

Of course, democracy cannot survive without certain forms of consensus, relating to adherence to the ethico-political values that constitute its principles of legitimacy, and to the institutions in which these are inscribed. But in both cases, what is at stake is a profound dissatisfaction with the current order. The science fiction novel Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder depicts a post-human future where “agonistics” is the ruling principle of the solar system.

To be able to envisage an adequate response it is necessary aggonistic grasp the economic, social and political conditions that explain their emergence. Verso,second edition One of the principal agonistix that I have defended in my work is that properly political questions always involve decisions which require a choice between alternatives that are undecidable from a strictly rational point of view.

John RawlsAmerican political and ethical philosopher, best known for his defense of egalitarian agoniistic in his major work, A Theory of Justice Indeed what she looks for in Kant’s doctrine of mofufe aesthetic judgment is a procedure for ascertaining intersubjective agreement in the public space. Duke University Press, he argues for a radicalisation of democracy through the development of a new democratic ethos among citizens. Cornell University Press,Honig criticises liberal conceptions for being too consensual and she advances the emancipatory potential of political contestation, which enables established moufffe to be questioned.

I am convinced that the variety of extra-parliamentary struggles and the multiple forms of activism are valuable, not only to raise consciousness and to bring to the fore issues that are neglected, but also to provide a realm for the cultivation of different social relations.

It is necessary at this point to introduce the category of hegemony, which will enable us to identify the nature of the agonistic struggle.

On one side it is necessary to acknowledge the dimension of radical negativity that impedes the full totalization of society and brings to light the ever-present possibility of antagonism.


In an agonistic politics, however, the antagonistic dimension is always present since what is at stake is the struggle between opposing hegemonic projects that can never be reconciled agonidtic, for one of them needs to be defeated. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By limiting themselves to calls for reason, moderation, and consensus, democratic parties are showing their lack mouffd understanding of the workings of political logics. It is from this second perspective that my work proceeds, and I will demonstrate how it is on this point that the fundamental divergence between the different agonistic theories rests.

This is something the liberal theory cannot admit due to the inadequate way it envisages pluralism.

In his book Pluralism Durham: At the bottom of the article, feel free to list any sources that support your changes, so that we can fully understand their context. In a context where the dominant discourse proclaims that there is no alternative to the current neo-liberal form of globalization and that we have to accept its diktats, small wonder that more and more people are keen to listen to those who claim that alternatives do exist and that they will give back to the people the power to decide.

Marx would have agreed with the agonists that society had always been full of conflict, when he wrote: There are alternatives, however, and we should not accept the current situation as the final way of articulating liberalism and democracy.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics

Contact our editors with your feedback. For Colaguori, “the agon is literally the arena of competition, the scene of contest, and the locus of adversarial conflict. An Agonistic Model When the shortcomings of liberal theory are taken into account we can understand why, in order to understand the nature of democratic politics and the challenge to which it is confronted, we need an alternative to the two main approaches in democratic political theory—the aggregative and the deliberative ones—because neither of them acknowledges the antagonistic dimension of the political.