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Democracy and the Politics of the Extraordinary
Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt


  • Date Published: August 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521133418

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About the Authors
  • Although the modern age is often described as the age of democratic revolutions, the subject of popular founding 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. This study shows why it is important for democratic theory to rethink the question of democracy's 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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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Kalyvas excels in his depth and insight into the work of the three scholars he has studied … as a step toward advancing a coherent theory of extraordinary politics, [this book] is an important, fascinating and highly illustrative read.' Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521133418
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: the extraordinary and political theory
    Part I. Charismatic Politics and the Symbolic Foundations of Power: Max Weber:
    1. Revisiting Weber's concept of the political
    2. Charismatic politics
    3. Disavowing charismatic politics
    Part II. The Exception and Constitutional Politics: Carl Schmitt:
    4. The popular constituent sovereign and the 'pure' theory of democratic legitimacy
    5. Toward a theory of democratic constitutionalism
    6. The extra-institutional sovereign
    Part III. Taming the Extraordinary: Hannah Arendt:
    7. Extraordinary beginnings I: Arendt's critique of Schmitt
    8. Extraordinary beginnings II: Arendt's response to Schmitt
    9. The republic of councils: beyond democracy and liberalism?
    Conclusion: a democratic theory of the extraordinary

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Crisis of Modernity
  • Author

    Andreas Kalyvas, New School for Social Research, New York

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