Quotation Asara, Viviana. 2020. The Limits of Liberal Democracy: Prospects for Democratizing Democracy. Democratic Theory. 7 (1), 73-85.




This critical commentary discusses Stephan Lessenich’s recent work on democracy. It argues that—to understand the structural boundaries of welfare capitalist democracy—we must critically unearth the limits of liberal democracy. This article first maintains that the absence of an economic democratization dimension is an outcome of liberal democracy’s shrinking of the meaning of the political. It next claims that defining democracy in terms of rights does not duly consider how these unfolded historically and recently, nor clarifies their relation with negative freedom. The article then contends that the environmentally destructive dialectic of democracy and the belittlement of reproductive work stem from the constitution of a narrowly defined economic sphere, from which “reproductive activities” are excluded. Finally, the text reflects on what “democratizing democracy” should entail.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Democratic Theory
Language English
Title The Limits of Liberal Democracy: Prospects for Democratizing Democracy
Volume 7
Number 1
Year 2020
Page from 73
Page to 85
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/democratic-theory/7/1/dt070105.xml
DOI https://doi.org/10.3167/dt.2020.070105
Open Access N


Asara, Viviana (Details)
Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development IN (Details)
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