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Antagonism and Democratic Citizenship (Schmitt, Mouffe, Derrida)

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image of Research in Phenomenology

In the context of the recent proliferation of nationalisms and enemy figures, this paper agrees with the desirability of retaining some of the explanatory and motivational potential of an agonistic account of politics, but gives reasons not to accept too much of Carl Schmitt's account of citizenship. The claim as to the necessarily antagonistic exclusion of concrete others can be supported neither on its own terms nor on Derridian grounds, as Chantal Mouffe, in particular, attempts to do. I then indicate that différance may nonetheless account for strong (but not necessary) tendencies toward exclusion as well as for the intrinsic contradictions of liberal universalism.

Affiliations: 1: Concordia University, Montréal


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