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Democracy and the Politics of the Extraordinary


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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; Bibliography.

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Kalyvas explores a democratic politics of the extraordinary to examine the formation of a constitutional government.


'... 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
"Weaving together strands from the writings of Weber, Schmitt, and Arendt in a novel and sophisticated manner, Kalyvas shows how these thinkers can help to illuminate the founding of democracies. Despite their own skepticism about mass democracies, Kalyvas creatively uses their insights about the category of the extraordinary and the politics of founding to develop a highly original theory of democracy with radical intent. His interpretations are fresh and thought provoking. This is an exciting and major theoretical contribution to rethinking of radical democratic politics." -Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research
"In this remarkable and original study, Andreas Kalyvas emphasizes the importance of asserting the distinction between extraordinary and normal politics. Central to Kalyvas' endeavor are iconoclastic readings of Weber, Schmitt, and Arendt as theorists of origins. In opposition to Agamben and his followers, Kalyvas reads Carl Schmitt's notion of the exception or the extraordinary as the condition of possibility for popular sovereignty, the moment when the people emerge - become visible - as the constituent power that determines the form of political life. Schmitt's Constitutional Theory, then, serves Kalyvas as the challenge to democratic theory to think 'the people' not just as the origin of the constitution and not just as the dutiful liberal citizen within the constituted order, but as the slumbering yet ever-present sovereign that collectively manifests its legitimate power outside of legal channels in the public life of the community." -William Rasch, Indiana University
"Taking up the well-know question of modern democratic foundings, Kalyvas radically reconfigures the relationship of the old to the new in ways that go beyond our normal understanding of revolutionary change. In deeply thoughtful readings of Weber, Schmitt, and Arendt, Kalyvas presses us to rethink not only how it is that new beginnings are possible but also how the 'revolutionary spirit' can be sustained in the course of normal everyday politics. Relocating the critical political energy associated with the extraordinary event of revolution in the everyday life of self-reflective citizens, Kalyvas powerfully illuminates the creative political potential inherent in quotidian forms of democratic practice." -Linda Zerilli, Northwestern University
"Democracy and the Politics of the Extraordinary is a brilliant study of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt. It comes at a propitious moment in American politics. Most scholars have presented the enlarged sphere of executive discretion within the Bush presidency as a legal problem. Andreas Kalyvas sees it for what it is: a question deeply rooted in the politics of democracy, and specifically those 'extraordinary' moments outside the settled and normal. This book should be read by everyone concerned about the political constitution of the modern state." -Ellen Kennedy, University of Pennsylvania
"Kalyvas' book is much more than intellectual bricolage. Kalyvas creatively and imaginatively arranges his Weberian-Schmittian-Arendtian elements into a compelling and coherent Kalyvasian understanding of democratic extraordinary politics. For anyone interested in politics--and everyone should be--Kalyvas provides a remarkable, original, and compelling understanding of the politics of the extraordinary." German Studies Review, Robert Weldon Whalen, Queens University of Charlotte

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