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Wolin, Time, and the Democratic Temperament


This essay challenges Sheldon Wolin’s critique of social acceleration in order to recuperate impatience for democracy and political theory. First, I argue that patience and impatience offer a more productive temporal framework of analysis. Second, I demonstrate that impatience is an implicit demotic virtue, which changes democracy’s relation to social acceleration. Third, I illustrate the continued viability of patient theorizing by showing how Wolin revises an initially rash understanding of political time due to critical interlocutors. Finally, I flesh out a positive impatience within Wolin’s approach to political theory. Impatient theorizing results from and is commensurate with demotic impatience.