Filip Biały – Concepts of Agonistic Democracy (2018)

The aim of the book is to present a concise introduction into history and development of concepts of agonistic democracy. The first chapter presents ancient and contemporary contexts in which the terms “agon” and “agonism” had been used. The second chapter presents the concept of agonistic pluralism, advocated by Chantal Mouffe. The third chapter presents the idea of agonistic respect, proposed by William E. Connolly. The fourth chapter reconstructs main tenets of Bonne Honig’s agonistic approach towards political theory. The fifth chapter traces reception of the concepts of agonistic democracy in contemporary normative political theory.

The book concludes that agonistic democracy is a product of the historical and theoretical contexts of the early 1990s: the end of the Cold War and destabilisation of the world order as well as the expansion of post-structural political philosophy that has been a main inspiration for agonistic theorists. Because agonistic theory presents a tragic vision of politics without hope for any final resolution, it is argued that its capability to inspire political practice is limited.