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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To find such an anti-political approach among activists involved in the various movements of the outraged is worrying because it prevents designing an adequate strategy for their struggle.

What democratic politics requires is that the others are not seen as enemies to be destroyed, but as adversaries whose ideas would be fought, even fiercely, but whose right to defend those ideas will never be put into question. Once we accept that identities are never pre-given but that they are always the result of processes of identification, that they are discursively constructed, the question that arises is the type of identity that critical artistic practices should aim at fostering.

But I would now like to examine the differences that exist between my approach and the one found within a certain number of conceptions that also adopt an agonistic perspective. Political theories Conflict process Pluralism philosophy.

Can all antagonisms be transformed into agonism? The Public Space What are the consequences of the agonistic model of democratic politics that I have just delineated for visualizing the public space?

This happens when the others, who up to now had been considered as simply different, start to be perceived as putting into question our identity and threatening our existence. Liberalismpolitical doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics.

Public life will never be able to dispense with antagonism for it concerns public action and the formation of collective identities. Then, the authos puts forward some element for the elaboration of an alternative model that she proposes to call ‘agonistic pluralism’. An Agonistic Approach moutfe the Recent Protest Movements Alongside allowing us to grasp the reasons for the growing success of right-wing populism, the agonistic approach can also shed light on recent protest movements in liberal-democratic societies.


It requires in other words recognizing the hegemonic nature of every kind of social order and the fact that every society is the product of a series of practices attempting at establishing order in a context of contingency.

Agonism is opposed to a strand in the Marxist conception of politics known as ” materialism “. I am convinced that the variety of extra-parliamentary struggles and the multiple forms of activism are valuable, not only to raise miuffe and to bring to the fore issues that are neglected, but also to provide a realm for the cultivation of different social relations.

According to Rawls, any liberal polity must respect the fact that citizens will differ as to their conceptions of the good. Tim Fisken Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The thesis I defend is that only once the ineradicable character of division and antagonism is recognised does it become possible to agonistif in a properly political manner.

A well functioning democracy calls for a vibrant clash of democratic political positions. The experience of progressive governments in South America in the last decade proves that it is possible to challenge neo-liberalism and to re-establish the priority of democratic values without relinquishing liberal representative institutions.

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This incapacity to think politically, is to a great extent due to agonostic uncontested hegemony of liberalism. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics

Without a profound transformation in the way democratic politics is envisaged, and without a serious attempt to address the lack of forms of identifications that would allow for a democratic mobilization of passions, the challenge posed by right wing populist parties will remain and even increase.

While some form of consensus is no doubt necessary, it must be accompanied agnistic dissent.

Learn how and when to remove these template messages. It is clear that in the current conditions such a project cannot be conceived in national terms alone, and that it needs to be envisaged at a European level. The descriptive form of agonism can be seen in the critique of pluralism in political science raised by the American political theorist William E.


Page – – Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 3: History of Western Philosophy. It is the price to pay for acting politically. Whereas for right-wing populism the adversary is identified with the immigrants or the Muslims, the adversary for a moufde populist movement should be constituted by the configuration of forces that sustain neo-liberal hegemony.

Agonism – Wikipedia

What they demand are better, more inclusive forms of representation. Skip to main content Skip to quick search Skip to global navigation. The tradition is also referred to as agonistic pluralism.

Agonistc work of Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault have also invoked conceptions of agonism and the agon in a more critical sense beyond that of political counter-hegemony. There was a problem with your submission. To understand the political as the ever present possibility of antagonism, agpnistic absence of a final foundation and the undecidability that pervades every order must be acknowledged.

Chantal Mouffe: Agonistic Democracy and Radical Politics | Pavilion Journal

This requires relinquishing the idea of a society beyond division and power, and coming to terms with the lack of a final ground and with the undecidability that pervades every order. According to Arendt, to think politically consists in developing the ability to see things from a multiplicity of perspectives.

Every order is the temporary and precarious articulation of contingent practices. The typical liberal understanding of pluralism is that we live in a world in which there are indeed many perspectives and values and that, due to empirical limitations, we will never be able to adopt them all, but that, when put together, they constitute an harmonious ensemble.

John RawlsAmerican political and ethical philosopher, best known for his defense of egalitarian liberalism in his major work, A Theory of Justice