Democracy, Give or Take?
Abstract

Abstract:

In 2007, the King of Bhutan “gave” democracy to his people. Using this story as a point of departure, this article interrogates the complicated humanitarian notion of democracy as a gift in thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, Claude Lefort, and Jacques Rancière. After bringing out the paradoxes in the King of Bhutan’s abdication, I speculate to what degree a protest against the Bhutanese state might model a new formulation of democracy, one that cannot be reduced to a consensualist scheme of sovereign sacrifice. While I conclude that we cannot fully abandon an economy of rights as “giving and taking,” a new discussion of the rhetorical structure of rights emerges.