Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Between Means and Ends: Reconstructing Coercion in Dewey's Democratic Theory

  • ALEXANDER LIVINGSTON (a1)
Abstract

John Dewey's democratic theory is celebrated as a classic statement of the theory of deliberative democracy. This article challenges deliberative appropriations of Dewey's political thought by situating his democratic theory within the contentious history of American labor politics. In his writings on direct action, strikes, and class struggle, Dewey advocated coercive and nondeliberative modes of political action as democratic means for democratic ends. Examining Dewey's writings on democracy, action, and the use of force reveals how a means-oriented pragmatism circumvents the problematic dichotomy of ideal ends and non-ideal means framing contemporary debates about idealism and realism in democratic theory. Pragmatism's account of the interdependence of means and ends in political action, as a process of creative and collaborative experimentation, combines a robust defense of coercive tactics with a consequentialist critique of violence.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Alexander Livingston is Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (alexander.livingston@cornell.edu)
Footnotes
Hide All

I would like thank Gerry Berk, Robin Celikates, Sam Chambers, Simone Chambers, Ani Chen, Çiğdem Çidam, Rom Coles, Jeff Flynn, Dennis Galvan, Ayten Gündoğdu, Jason Frank, Jill Frank, Burke Hendrix, Gary Herrigel, Nicolas Jabko, Colin Koopman, Erin Pineda, Ed Quish, and Adam Sheingate for sharing their comments and criticisms on earlier drafts of this essay, as well as my anonymous reviewers, and Leigh Jenco for her insightful editorial guidance.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Addams Jane. 2002. “A Modern Lear.” In The Jane Addams Reader, ed. Elshtain Jean Bethke. New York, NY: Basic Books. 163176.
Arendt Hannah. 1998. The Human Condition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Arendt Hannah. 2005. “The Ivory Tower of Common Sense.” In Essays in Understanding 1930–1954, ed. Kohn Jerome. New York, NY: Shocken. 194196.
Bohman James. 1999. “Democracy as Inquiry, Inquiry as Democratic: Pragmatism, Social Science, and the Cognitive Division of Labor,” American Journal of Political Science 43 (2): 590607.
Bohman James. 2004. “Realizing Deliberative Democracy as a Mode of Inquiry: Pragmatism, Social Facts, and Normative Theory,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 18 (1): 2343.
Bondurant Joan. 1998. Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, new edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bourne Randolph. 1992. “Twilight of the Idols.” In The Radical Will: Selected Writings, 1911–1918, ed. Hansen Olaf. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 336–48.
Brecher Jeremy. 1972. Strike! San Francisco, CA: Straight Arrow Books.
Buhle Paul. 2013. Marxism in the United States: A History of the American Left, third edition. London, UK: Verso.
Case Clarence Marsh. 1923. Non-Violent Coercion: A Study in Methods of Social Pressure. New York, NY: The Century Co.
Caspary William R. 2000. Dewey on Democracy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Caspary William R. 2003. “‘One and the Same Method’: John Dewey's Thesis of Unity of Method in Ethics and Science,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 39 (3): 445468.
Dalton Dennis. 2000. “Gandhi's Originality.” In Gandhi, Freedom, and Self-Rule, ed. Parel Anthony J.. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 6386.
Dewey John. 1935. “Liberalism Twenty Years Later,” The New Republic 81 (January 23): 290292.
Dewey John. 1977. “Does Reality Possess a Practical Character?” In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 4: 1907–9, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 125142.
Dewey John. 1980a. “Conscience and Compulsion.” In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 10: 1916–17, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 260264.
Dewey John. 1980b. “Force and Coercion.” In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 10: 1916–17, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 244251.
Dewey John. 1980c. “Force, Violence, and Law.” In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 10: 1916–17, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 211215.
Dewey John. 1982. Reconstruction in Philosophy . In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 12: 1920, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 77202.
Dewey John. 1983. Human Nature and Conduct . In The Middle Works, 1899–1924. Vol. 14: 1922, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1234.
Dewey John. 1984a. The Public and Its Problems . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 2: 1928–29, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 235372.
Dewey John. 1984b. The Quest for Certainty . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 4: 1929, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1250.
Dewey John. 1984c. Individualism Old and New . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 5: 1929–1930, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 41144.
Dewey John. 1985a. “Social Science and Social Control.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 6: 1931–1932, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 6468.
Dewey John. 1985b. Ethics . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 7: 1932, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1462.
Dewey John. 1986a. “Why I Am Not a Communist.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 9: 1933–34, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 9195.
Dewey John. 1986b. “Intelligence and Power.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 9: 1933–34, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 107112.
Dewey John. 1986c. Logic: The Theory of Inquiry . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 12: 1938, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1528.
Dewey John. 1987a. Art as Experience . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 10: 1934, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1366.
Dewey John. 1987b. “Democracy is Radical.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 11: 1935–1937, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 296300.
Dewey John. 1987c. Liberalism and Social Action . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 11: 1935–1937, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 166.
Dewey John. 1987d. “The Future of Liberalism.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 11: 1935–1937, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 258260.
Dewey John. 1987e. “A Liberal Speaks Out for Liberalism.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 11: 1935–1937, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 282288.
Dewey John. 1987f. “The Future of Liberalism.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 11: 1935–1937, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 289295.
Dewey John. 1988a. “The Economic Basis of the New Society.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 13: 1938–39, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 309322.
Dewey John. 1988b. Freedom and Culture . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 13: 1938–39, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 63188.
Dewey John. 1988c. “Means and Ends.” In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 13: 1938–39, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 349354.
Dewey John. 1988d. Theory of Valuation . In The Later Works, 1925–1953. Vol. 13: 1938–39, ed. Boydston Jo Ann. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 189254.
Dewey John. n.d. The Correspondence of John Dewey, 1871–1952 (Electronic Edition). Vol. 1: 1871–1918. Charlottesville, VA: InteLex PastMasters.
Diggins John Patrick. 1994. The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Dryzek John. 2000. Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Eldridge Michael. 1998. Transforming Experience: John Dewey's Cultural Instrumentalism. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.
Eldridge Michael. 2002. “The Teacher Union's Fight and the Scope of Dewey's Logic.” In Dewey's Logical Theory: New Studies and Interpretations, eds. Burke F. Thomas, Hester D. Micah, and Talisse Robert B.. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press. 262274.
Farr James. 1999. “John Dewey and American Political Science,” American Journal of Political Science 43 (2): 520541.
Feffer Andrew. 2005. “The Presence of Democracy: Deweyan Exceptionalism and Communist Teachers in the 1930s,” Journal of the History of Ideas 66 (1): 7997.
Festenstein Matthew. 2001. “Inquiry as Critique: On the Legacy of Deweyan Pragmatism for Political Theory,” Political Studies 49 (4): 730748.
Festenstein Matthew. 2004. “Deliberative Democracy and Two Models of Pragmatism,” European Journal of Social Theory 7: 291306.
Geuss Raymond. 2001. History and Illusion in Politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Gutmann Amy and Thompson Dennis. 2004. Why Deliberative Democracy? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hildreth R.W. 2009. “Reconstructing Dewey on Power,” Political Theory 37 (6): 780807.
Hildreth R.W. 2012. “Word and Deed: A Deweyan Integration of Deliberative and Participatory Democracy,” New Political Science 34 (3): 295320.
Holmes John Hayne. 1920. Is Violence the Way Out of Our Industrial Disputes? New York, NY: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
Honneth Axel. 1998. “Democracy as Reflexive Cooperation: John Dewey and the Theory of Democracy Today,” Political Theory 26 (6): 763783.
Jewett Andrew. 2011. “Canonizing Dewey: Columbia Naturalism, Logical Empiricism, and the Idea of American Philosophy,” Modern Intellectual History 8 (1): 91125.
Knight Jack and Johnson James. 2011. The Priority of Democracy: Political Consequences of Pragmatism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Kosnoski Jason. 2005. “Artful Discussion: John Dewey's Classroom as a Model of Deliberative Association,” Political Theory 33 (5): 654677.
Latour Bruno. 1999. Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Livingston Alexander. 2016. Damn Great Empires! William James and the Politics of Pragmatism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
MacGilvray Eric. 2005. Reconstructing Public Reason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mansbridge Jane with Bohman James, Chambers Simone, Estlund David, Føllesdal Andrews, Fung Archon, Lafont Cristina, Manin Bernard, and Martí José Luis. 2010. “The Place of Self-Interest and the Role of Power in Deliberative Democracy,” Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (1): 64100.
Mansbridge Jane with Bohman James, Chambers Simone, Christiano Thomas, Fung Archon, Parkinson John, Thompson Dennis F., and Warren Mark E.. 2012. “A Systemic Approach to Deliberative Democracy.” In Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale, eds. Parkinson John and Mansbridge Jane. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 126.
Mantena Karuna. 2012a. “Another Realism: The Politics of Gandhian Nonviolence,” American Political Science Review 106 (2): 455470.
Mantena Karuna. 2012b. “Gandhi and the Means-Ends Question in Politics.” Occasional Papers of the School of Social Sciences no. 46, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. 1–25. https://www.sss.ias.edu/files/papers/paper46.pdf
Marres Noortje. 2005. “Issues Spark a Problem into Being: A Key but Often Forgotten Point in the Lippmann-Dewey Debate.” In Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, eds. Latour Bruno and Weibel Peter. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 208– 17.
Medearis John. 2005. “Social Movements and Deliberative Democratic Theory,” British Journal of Political Science 35: 5375.
Medearis John. 2015. Why Democracy is Oppositional. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mills C. Wright. 1969. Sociology and Pragmatism: The Higher Learning in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Mouffe Chantal. 1996. “Deconstruction, Pragmatism, and the Politics of Democracy.” In Deconstruction and Pragmatism, ed. Mouffe Chantal. New York, NY: Routledge. 112.
Mumford Lewis. 1926. The Golden Day: A Study of American Experience and Culture. New York, NY: Horace Liveright.
Myers Ella. 2013. Worldly Ethics: Democratic Politics as Care for the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Niebuhr Reinhold. 2013. Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics, new edition. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox.
Ottanelli Fraser. 1991. The Communist Party of the United States from the Depression to World War 2. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Phelps Christopher. 1997. Young Sidney Hook: Marxist and Pragmatist. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Rogers Melvin L. 2009. The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Rorty Richard. 1982. Consequences of Pragmatism: Essays, 1972–1980. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minneapolis Press.
Ryan Alan. 1997. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Stears Marc. 2007. “Liberalism and the Politics of Compulsion,” British Journal of Political Science 37: 533553.
Stears Marc. 2010. Demanding Democracy: American Radicals in Search of a New Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Trotsky Leon. 2007. Terrorism and Communism. London, UK: Verso.
Trotsky Leon. 1973. “Their Morals and Ours.” In Their Morals and Ours: Marxist vs. Liberal Views on Morality, ed. Novak George. New York, NY: Pathfinder Press. 1352.
Walzer Michael. 1970. “Civil Disobedience and Corporate Authority.” In Obligations: Essays on Disobedience, War, and Citizenship. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2445.
Westbrook Robert B. 1991. John Dewey and American Democracy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Westbrook Robert B. 2005. Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Wolin Sheldon S. 2004. Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, expanded edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Young Iris Marion. 2001. “Activist Challenges to Deliberative Democracy,” Political Theory 29 (5): 670690.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 28
Total number of PDF views: 263 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1195 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 19th June 2017 - 24th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.