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Type: Thesis
Title: A radical alternative?: a re-evaluation of Chantal Mouffe’s radical democratic approach.
Author: Skrzypiec, Leah
Issue Date: 2011
School/Discipline: School of History and Politics
Abstract: The catalyst for this thesis is the current debate addressing the nature and practice of liberal democracies. Many critics have argued that liberal democracies are failing their constituents, and in order to revitalise the key features of “robust” democracies, a number of alternatives have been proposed. Chantal Mouffe’s radical democratic approach offers one such alternative. Mouffe has written extensively on this subject and is considered an eminent proponent of a left, democratic, alternative and it is her body of work that I take as my explicit focus. This thesis examines to what degree Mouffe’s alternative can be considered radical. There are three important elements to this evaluation, all of which relate to the different definitions of the term. Specifically, these criteria are embodied in the following questions: “How different to the other alternatives is Mouffe’s approach?”; “How left is it?”; and “How democratic is it?”. While it is clear that some of Mouffe’s work has progressive, disruptive, democratic, and therefore “radical” elements, this thesis argues that this radicalness does not reach its full potential. The lacunae in Mouffe’s work, which relate to a lack of detail and theoretical clarification on many important concepts, mean that Mouffe is unable, at this point in time, to present a comprehensive, useful, and radical alternative to rival the other approaches. Laden within her work, however, there is the potential for radical democracy to become a paradigm changing approach to democracy. Central to this thesis is the claim that Mouffe should capitalise on the most radical aspects of her work – expanding the areas of re-theorisation, utilising them to inform the principles of liberty and equality, and disrupting the paradigm of liberal democracy. In doing so, radical democracy could rival other alternative models of democracy, and present an important new approach in democratic theory and practice.
Advisor: Beasley, Christine
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of History and Politics, 2011
Keywords: radical democracy; Chantal Mouffe; left politics; democracy; democratic theory; socialism; post-Marxism; agonism; agonistic pluralism; the political; Schmitt; democracy to come; equality
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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