Although the modern age is often described as the age of democratic revolutions, the subject of popular foundings has not captured the imagination of contemporary political thought. Most of the time, democratic theory and political science treat as the object of their inquiry normal politics, institutionalized power, and consolidated democracies. The aim of Andreas Kalyvas' study is to show why it is important for democratic theory to rethink the question of its beginnings. Is there a founding unique to democracies? Can a democracy be democratically established? What are the implications of expanding democratic politics in light of the question of whether and how to address democracy's beginnings? Kalyvas addresses these questions and scrutinizes the possibility of democratic beginnings in terms of the category of the extraordinary, as he reconstructs it from the writings of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt and their views on the creation of new political, symbolic, and constitutional orders.
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Using the writings of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt, Kalyvas explores a democratic politics of the extraordinary that integrates the "how," "when," and "by whom" a constitutional government is created, in order to enlarge our understanding of democracy, radical politics, popular sovereignty, and political freedom.About the Author:
Ira Katznelson is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University. His most recent books are When Affirmative Action Was White (2005) and Desolation and Enlightenment: Political Knowledge After Total War, Totalitarianism, and the Holocaust (2003), which received the David and Helene Spitz Prize and the David Easton Award.
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