Fall 2014

Democratic Theory

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-308

Moodle site: Course


Andrew Poe (Section 01)


[PT]  What do we mean by “democracy”? Is democracy the rule of the people? Or is it free and fair elections? Is democracy merely a set of political institutions and practices, such as party systems and electoral structures? Or is democracy something more radical, such as the opposition to any form of domination? How these different meanings operate – how they do and don’t work together – is not always clear. In this course we will examine current debates in democratic theory. Our aim will be to parse different theories of what democracy is and could be. The course will be divided into three parts: Part One will serve as an introduction, questioning the possibility and impossibility of democracy, and paying particular attention to paradoxes of democratic rule. Part Two will focus on agreement, examining logics of consensus and the forms of democracy that might result. In Part Three, we will turn our investigation to disagreement, and the promise of democracy as seen through the lens of more radical and agonistic democrats. Readings will consist of selections from various theorists, including Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Rancière, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Carl Schmitt, Jacques Derrida, and Sheldon Wolin, amongst others. 

Limited to 25 students.  Not open to first-year students.  Fall semester.  Professor Poe.

If Overenrolled: Preference for majors/Juniors first/balanced after

Cost: 42.00 ?


2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014