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Democracy and the Square: Recognizing the Democratic Value of the Recent Public Sphere Movements

27 January 2015


The paper considers the democratic value of the recent public sphere movements—from Occupy Wall Street to Taksim Gezi Park, from Tahrir Square to Sofia. It argues that the mainstream models of democracy fail to grasp the significance of these movements and the emergent political forms within these movements due to their narrow account of politics and democracy. To fully grasp the democratic value of recent public sphere movements, we should approach them from an agonistic perspective. Once democratic politics is viewed from an agonistic perspective, it becomes possible to recognize that while expressing their critique of existing liberal democratic institutions, the recent public sphere movements contested the dominant understanding of democracy and staged an alternative vision of democracy, democratic culture, and new forms of citizenship.


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