In this chapter, I discuss the way Hannah Arendt reinterpreted the council tradition along the lines of her own political theory. Arendt’s (in)famous separation between the social and the political led her to distort important historical aspects of the council movement. At the same time, I argue, it allowed Arendt to contribute to the council tradition an important, original dimension. By conceptualising political action and speech as ends in themselves, Arendt urged us to think about the councils, as well as about similar attempts at creating participatory societies, not only in terms of the specific goals towards which they strive, but also in terms of the unique experience of political freedom they allow for “ordinary” citizens. By highlighting the way citizens of modern democracies are deprived of this experience, Arendt’s reinterpretation of the council movement provides us with a powerful normative critique not only of liberal democracy but also of alternative accounts of democracy and citizenship such as deliberative democracy and republicanism. Thinking of the council movement “with and against Arendt, " I finally argue, is essential in assessing contemporary challenges to hegemonic democratic theory and practice.
|Title of host publication||Council Democracy|
|Subtitle of host publication||Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||18|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2018|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor and Francis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)