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Democratic Theorizing from the Margins

Marla Brettschneider

Publication Year: 2011

Democratic Theorizing from the Margins lays out the basic parameters of diversity-based politics as a still emerging form of democratic theory. Students, activists, and scholars engage in diversity politics on the ground, but generally remain unable to conceptualize a broad understanding of how "politics from the margins"-that is, political thinking and action that comes from groups often left on the outside of mainstream organizing and action-operates effectively in different contexts and environments. Brettschneider offers concrete lessons from many movements to see what they tell us about a new sort of democratic politics. She also addresses traditional democratic theories and draws on the myriad discerning practices employed by marginalized groups in their political activism to enhance the critical capacities of potential movements committed both to social change and democratic action.

Published by: Temple University Press

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

A BOOK is always a joint effort. I would like to thank Lori Marso and Pat Moynagh for their ongoing love and support with this work and so much more. Sandell Morse offered good writing tips and Laurie Zimmerman made time at a crazy point in her life to read an early draft of the manuscript. Judith Grant and Dennis Fischman gave me much-...

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-20

TONY KUSHNER opens part two of his epic play, Angels in America, with a warning to us, the “pygmy children of a gigantic race,” the historical inheritors of the West’s grand theories:...

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Chapter 2: When: History

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pp. 21-52

OVER TIME, the national project in the United States has included testing numerous approaches to dealing with the challenges that difference poses to democracies. Using violence and propaganda to wipe out diversity, promoting the values of assimilation, or sometimes glorifying...

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Chapter 3: Who: Identity

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pp. 53-81

IN OCTOBER 1997 the San Francisco Chronicle’s business section reported that for every dollar that white male managers in the United States earned, the average amount earned by others was significantly lower. The Chronicle article tells us that in comparison to this one dollar, on average Asian...

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Chapter 4: What: Recognition

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pp. 82-113

THUS RALPH ELLISON opens his first novel and now legendary tale of the Invisible Man. Published in 1947, Ellison’s work seemed to express something central to the experiences of many African American men due to the historical development of racism in the United States. Men and women ...

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Chapter 5: Why: Rethinking Universals and Particulars

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pp. 114-135

AS AN EMERGENT democratic theory attending to oppressed groups and pursuing a politics of recognition, diversity-based politics from the margins has also revived the discussion of why we engage in politics, offering new ideas about the empirical and normative grounds that motivate political involvement. Why do people participate in democratic politics, and...

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Chapter 6: Where: Multiple Publics

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pp. 136-172

WE HAVE now had an opportunity to look at some of the when, who, what, and why of diversity-based politics’ potential contributions to new democratic theory. It is time that we address the question concerning where. Where do we see these newer, alternative, and potentially radical forms of politics taking place? What are their locations? What spaces might...

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Chapter 7: How: Minoritizing and Majoritizing

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pp. 173-201

IT IS often difficult to engage in critical discussions of fundamental democratic principles. Basic questions of democratic praxis are often assumed to be easily answered, or thought to have been answered declaratively by the “founding fathers.” Sometimes merely suggesting that we reopen the...

Notes

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pp. 202-232

References

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pp. 233-252

Index

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pp. 253-258


E-ISBN-13: 9781439907733
Print-ISBN-13: 9781592136544

Publication Year: 2011