Democracy Beyond the State
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Popp-Madsen, Benjamin Ask1, Forfatter
Rostbøll, Christian F.2, Vejleder
1Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, København, Danmark, diskurs:7001              
2Institut for Statskundskab, Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, København, Danmark, diskurs:7003              
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Ukontrollerede emneord: Demokrati, Stat, politisk deltagelse, federalisme, konstituerende magt, Hannah Arendt
 Abstract: There is widespread dissatisfaction with contemporary representative democracy. Distrust in politicians rises; the levels of political participation decline, and there is a growing distance between the opinions of the professionalized political elites and the electorate in many Western countries. In this thesis I investigate the lack of participation and the growing apathetic attitude towards politics by exploring the history of political ideas. I provide two main arguments. Firstly, I argue that the lethargic condition of contemporary politics is not only current or accidental, but that it rests on a historical and conceptual relation between democracy and the state. By analyzing the development of state sovereignty in Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes and the American Federalists, I argue that despite their internal differences, they all write against advocates of popular participation in politics; they understand direct popular participation as an unpredictable and anarchical force, which their theories of state sovereignty are to counter. Bodin, Hobbes and the Federalists provide similar notions of sovereignty as the uncommanded command of a superior and the obedience of an inferior, therefore inscribing hierarchy and domination into the core of the modern political experience. I therefore conclude that a participatory democracy that valorizes popular participation and acknowledge the importance of a vibrant public sphere cannot be institutionalized within the state form.
Secondly, I argue that a participatory democracy can be institutionalized within a federation. This argument has two parts. Firstly, I reconstruct a positive theory of democracy as constituent power from the basis of Hannah Arendt’s political thought. Taking Arendt’s phenomenology of promises as a starting point and a non-sovereign alternative to the command of the state, I translate Arendt’s notion of promise making into a political theory of world building and constitution making. I argue that democratic political action is to participate in the co-institution of the constitutional laws of the community, and I provide a series of principles of democratic action, which a participatory political form is to institutionalize. Secondly, I deliver the arguments for why a federation can institutionalize the provided principles of democratic action.
The thesis concludes by establishing the conceptual connection between democratic constituent power and federalism, and by engaging with Arendt’s discussion on the revolutionary council tradition, I conclude that federal democracy is no theoretical utopia, but a stable political form, which has historical precedents that keep inspiring contemporary political experimentation and new democratic practices.
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Bogmærk denne post:
 Type: Speciale
Alternativ titel: On the Institutionalization of Democratic Self-Government
Alternativ titel: Demokrati uden stat
Alternativ titel: Om institutionaliseringen af demokratisk selvstyre
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Sprog: English - eng
 Datoer: 2014-03-30
 Sider: -
 Publiceringsinfo: København : Københavns Universitet
 Indholdsfortegnelse: -
 Note: -
 Type: Speciale
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