2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Radical Democracy as Response to the Human Condition
Shaine A. Griggs
Dr. Stephen Pollard, Faculty Mentor

Conflict cannot be ultimately eradicated. Utopian hopes notwithstanding, ‘we’ will never speak with one voice, espousing the same values, goals, or policies. Force and violence will always threaten our social orders—they are always present in varying degrees as constitutive elements of the political dimension of our lives. We cannot responsibly offer any neutral or universally acceptable grounds for our ways of life or the value systems they express. This raw understanding of the human condition, I argue, clears the way for a new model of democracy. As opposed to defining democracy as either the electoral aggregation of interests or as an idyllic dialogical process or as the appropriate regime for market economies, I uphold Chantal Mouffe’s vision in which democracy means the radically participatory contest of competing worldviews. To this end, I advocate decreasing the scale of modern societies (e.g. the US) and devoting less energy toward the assumed values productivity and economic efficiency.

Keywords: radical democracy, human condition, deconstruction, politics, Chantal Mouffe, productivity, efficiency, postmodern

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-3
Location: VH 1412
Time: 1:45

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