Examining the Conflictual Political: Alternative Agonisms for Democratic Designs

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Meney, Desirrea Patrice




Democratic theory struggles to understand the conflictual quality of the democratic experience. Agonist literature has better achieved this recognition, founding democracy on a political dimension that is irreducibly conflictual. Yet, the study of agonist thinkers has often excluded much of the diversity in agonistic thought. Further, widely-accepted models such as deliberative democracy have ignored conflict, pointing the field towards unity and peace by rational deliberation. Therefore, this thesis reapproaches agonist literature, presenting three cases of 'alternative agonists', in order to examine what the agonistic tradition still has to offer to the perils of democracy. This thesis demonstrates that the perspectives of Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and Claude Lefort have been oft-overlooked. Therefore, it argues that a comparative analysis of their writings reveals unique meanings of the 'conflictual political' that impact the way we think and do democracy. It offers new potentials for understanding the fundamental meaning of democracy.


Political Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Science

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Theses and Dissertations

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