The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy
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Anarchist Critique of Radical Democracy

The Impossible Argument

Authors: Lundström, Markus

  • Offers an anarchist reading of urban riots
  • Builds on anarchist theory and practice, supplemented by a Rancierian perspective
  • Shows how anarchist theory has relevance for our contemporary political agenda
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-76977-6
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Hardcover £44.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-76976-9
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Softcover £44.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-08338-0
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About this book

This book addresses the conflictual nature of radical democracy. By analyzing democratic conflict in Husby, a marginalized Stockholm city district, it exposes democracy’s core division – between governors and governed – as theorized by Jacques Rancière. Tracing the genealogy of that critique, the book interrogates a historical tradition generically adverse to every form of governance, namely anarchism. By outlining the divergent and discontinuous relationship between democracy and anarchy – within the history of anarchist thought – the author adds to democratic theory ‘The Impossible Argument’: a compound anarchist critique of radical democracy.

About the authors

Markus Lundström is a researcher at Stockholm University, Sweden. He specializes in resistance and social movements and is the author of The Making of Resistance: Brazil’s Landless Movement and Narrative Enactment (2017).

Reviews

“The very best and most fruitful interrogations of political life often come from a deep and scrupulous plunge into a single event. So it is with Markus Lundström’s brilliant analysis of the battle in the streets of Husby in 2013. The result is a subtle, philosophically informed and original understanding of the possibilities for enacting the promise of anarchism.” (Professor James C. Scott, Yale University, USA)

“This is movement-based theorizing at its best. Lundström offers a compelling genealogy that details how anarchism might radicalize democracy, or might have to move entirely beyond it. This is an important book for those wondering what comes next, after alterglobalization, after Occupy, for activists in Europe and North America.” (Associate Professor Richard Day, Queen's University, Canada)

“This book takes seriously tensions within anarchism between making democracy more participatory vs making a more radical arrangement beyond democracy. Lundström exemplifies these tensions, and appeals to a variety of anarchist writers for the theoretical tools to think this tension productively.” (Professor Kathy E. Ferguson, University of Hawai'i, USA)

“Advancing on the anarchist tradition, Lundström's argument is timely, compelling, and deeply grounded in the collective experience of radical democratic contestation. This book deserves wide attention from scholars and activists alike.” (Assistant Professor Uri Gordon, University of Nottingham, UK)

“Democracy is not an answer to the problem of domination; rather it is an open-ended question. So can we retrieve more radical and participatory forms of democracy from within the democratic tradition, or do we need to look elsewhere? Lundström convincingly argues that the aporias of democracy are best explored within the anarchist tradition, which has always had an ambivalent attitude to democracy: what he calls the Impossible Argument. Anarchism, in other words, puts democracy to the test. In drawing on the theoretical resources of nineteenth and twentieth century anarchism, as well as empirical research from the site of contemporary struggles against the state, Lundström effectively illustrates the central tensions of democracy, developing from this new ways of thinking about radical democracy in the twenty first century. Democracy today means nothing if not the democracy against democracy, and politics against the police order.” (Professor Saul Newman, Goldsmiths University of London, UK)

“Lundström’s comprehensive, accessible and inclusive examination of anarchist thought defends an approach to democracy that combines uncompromising critique with a conception of anarchising change.” (Professor Ruth Kinna, Loughborough University, UK)

“This book offers a powerful critical inquiry into the relationship between anarchism and democracy. Sometimes held in conflict, other times sutured together, Lundström traces a genealogy of critique that sheds new light on the conflict at the heart of democracy and its imperative to govern. Anarchism, he contends, must be understood as elsewhere to such appeals to authority. In placing anarchism outside of these bounds, Lundström compellingly argues that we must move beyond the enchanting discourse of democracy, even in its radicalized form, to accept anarchism on its own terms.” (Professor Simon Springer, University of Victoria, Canada)

“It is easy to dismiss rioting youth as hooligans engaging in senseless violence. It is much more difficult, but also much more rewarding, to see them as political actors challenging formal frameworks of governance. Luckily, Markus Lundström has stepped up to the task.” (Gabriel Kuhn, author of All Power to the Councils!, 2012)

Table of contents (4 chapters)

Table of contents (4 chapters)
  • The Search for Radical Democracy

    Lundström, Markus

    Pages 1-9

  • Democratic Conflict

    Lundström, Markus

    Pages 11-25

  • Democracy and Anarchy

    Lundström, Markus

    Pages 27-75

  • The Impossible Argument to Radical Democracy

    Lundström, Markus

    Pages 77-82

Buy this book

eBook £35.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-76977-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £44.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-76976-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover £44.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-08338-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Anarchist Critique of Radical Democracy
Book Subtitle
The Impossible Argument
Authors
Series Title
The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-76977-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-76977-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-76976-9
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-08338-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 103
Topics