Journal Philosophies (Open Access Journal):
Across the world, populist discourses imagine and reclaim a mythical We, where homogeneity is defended as a condition for the existence of a lasting community. In this political vision, expressions of solidarity stop at the borders of the nation state and belonging is an exclusive privilege, with access to democratic citizenship for those participating in the common.
Parallel to this rhetorical retreat to nationalism, trade, communications, profits, and migration, as well as wars, climate change, disease, and hunger, we unmistakably transcend the democratic horizon of national boundaries and confront all living beings with the interconnectivity and multiple interdependencies of the world in which we live. They confront us with a given obligation of cohabitation and coexistence, as Judith Butler points out.
How can we democratically respond to this divergent situation?
Some scholars argue that in order to think like a democratic community, democracies cannot detach themselves from the constitutive boundary between us and them. Sarah Song, for example, underlines this problem. She doubts that community can be thought independently of a clearly defined and exclusive territory in which the representatives and the represented are strongly connected. Chantal Mouffe accentuates the partisan dimension of politics and its relevancy for democracy. For her, democracy needs an agonistic form of pluralism, constituted by both a common good and a constitutive exterior. Within these theories, understanding the political community as a group of people who share a way of life remains necessary for identification within the group, both for mutual recognition, as well as for sharing a sense of solidarity.
Other scholars accentuate the fundamentally plural and global character of the We. Hannah Arendt underlines the collective and plural character of the political, posing the question of sharing and interaction with the diverse. Her notion of plurality names interrelation, as well as demanding, as Adriana Cavarero indicates, the constitutive dimension of each being’s uniqueness. Arguing for the recognition of interdependency and interconnection as the proper political response to the current challenges, authors, such as Paul Gilroy or Gayatri Spivak, invite us to think about the necessities and difficulties of cosmopolitanism with the idea of the planetary while Étienne Balibar provides his notion of cosmopolitics. Donna Haraway calls for an extension of plural bonds beyond the human species, given the multiple interdependencies and relationships and, therefore, responsibilities among all living beings.
Moving away from the equation of the demos with the nation, we would like to ask how community and plurality can be thought together. How can the political community be thought of without reducing the principles of freedom and equality? Can we think of commonalities only within mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion? What idea of the common do we need to constitute a democratic We that is not sustained and defined by the nation state? How can such a We give voice to the plural condition of the world in which we live?
We would like to invite articles that explore these and other related issues to think about the role of plurality for a democratic We that encompasses the challenges of the interrelated and interconnected world we live in.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2023
Prof. Dr. Christine Abbt