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Paradoxes Of Democracy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the analysis of democracy which has emerged from Alain Touraine’s implicitly hermeneutical, subject-based perspective. It finds some highly fertile lines of analysis but also some absences and tensions which derive from his reluctance to thematise the communicative dimensions of social relations. Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutical philosophy offers a number of specific suggestions for resolving the tensions generated in Touraine’s analysis. Ricoeur’s analyses of the paradoxes of conflict and communication ultimately shed more light on the conflictual dimensions of social relations than Touraine’s exclusive emphasis on conflict. Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of communication and conflict adds new dimensions to the analysis of the conflictuality of democracy, and helps resolve some of the specific tensions that have arisen from Touraine’s neglect of communication.

Keywords: Alain Touraine; conflictual democracy; hermeneutical philosophy; paradoxes of democracy; Paul Ricoeur



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