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Dingpolitik and the Expansion of the Democratic Public Sphere? From ‘Democracy-as-Talk’ to ‘Conversing-with-Things’

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Theories that challenge the anthropocentric view of democracy and political participation in broader terms have in recent years attracted much attention. This has for instance been the case with Bruno Latour’s so-called ‘politics of things’ (Dingpolitik); and in direct extension of this, Noortje Marres’ notion of ‘material participation’ as well as Jane Bennett’s theories on ‘vibrant matter’. Picking up from the critiques of deliberative democracy, that the last decades have been raised against it for being a mostly western, white, male, bourgeois, and much too discourse-based construct, that on closer scrutiny turns out to be anything but democratic, this cluster of new theories, that often go under the name of ‘new materialism', seem to radicalize this critique in order to include non-human agency into the realms of politics and democracy. Rather than subscribing to this metaphor of a rupture within political theory, this paper will instead discuss if and how we might meaningfully align these theories — the anthropocentric, discourse-centered notion of deliberative democracy on the one hand, and the post-anthropocentric, materialist on the other — so that we can harvest the best from both in the service of a meaningful expansion of the democratic public sphere; both conceptually and in praxis.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationThe Democratic Public Sphere : Current Challenges and Prospects
EditorsHenrik Kaare Nielsen, Christina Fiig, Jørn Loftager, Thomas Olesen, Jan Løhmann Stephensen, Mads P. Sørensen
Number of pages32
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherAarhus Universitetsforlag
Publication year2016
ISBN (print)9788771841046
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe Democratic Public Sphere: Current Challenges and Prospects - AU, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 5 Nov 20157 Nov 2015


ConferenceThe Democratic Public Sphere

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