Political Representation from a Pragmatist Perspective: Aesthetic Democratic Representation

Contemporary Pragmatism 16 (1):84-103 (2019)
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In this article I discuss the advantages of a theory of political representation for a prag- matist theory of (global) democracy. I first outline Dewey’s disregard for political rep- resentation by analyzing the political, epistemological and aesthetic underpinnings of his criticism of the Enlightenment ideal of democracy and its trust in the power of the detached gaze. I then show that a theory of political representation is not only com- patible with a pragmatist Deweyan-pragmatist perspective on democratic politics but also that Dewey’s concept of “publics”, if applied to contemporary circumstances of globalized politics, requires such a theory. I suggest a pragmatic theory of political rep- resentation that combines elements of Dewey’s aesthetics, particularly his own theory of vision, with Michael Saward’s conception of representative claim-making into the notion of aesthetic democratic representation.
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Inclusion and Democracy.Young, Iris Marion

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