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Consensus and conflict in democratic theory : beyond agonism

Authors
  • Miguel, Luis Felipe
Publication Date
May 01, 2014
Source
Repositório Institucional da Universidade de Brasília
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Abstract

In recent decades, democratic theory was influenced by perceptions that emphasize the processes of consensus production and displace the centrality of political conflict – as the philosophy of Habermas and Rawls. The work of Chantal Mouffe denounces this movement, highlighting the irreducibility of conflict. She supports the idea of an "agonistic democracy", in which there are opponents, but not enemies. However, Mouffe ends up reproducing, on another level, the dilemma she wants to overcome. Either it is postulated the existence of mechanisms for producing consensus on the legitimate limits of agonistic dispute, solution that she refuses, or the dispute over these limits takes the form of an "antagonistic" conflict between enemies, which she also wishes to escape. This dilemma is inherent in any attempt to domesticate the political conflict.

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