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Document Details :
Title: Democracy and its Disfigurements
Subtitle: An Interview with Nadia Urbinati
Author(s): RESMINI, Marta , SCHOONHEIM, Liesbeth
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 78 Issue: 1 Date: 2016
In this interview, Nadia Urbinati elaborates on her lecture at the conference ‘Power and Representation’ (hosted by ripple, Research in Political Philosophy Leuven in June 2014), and on her recently published book Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth, and the People. More specifically, she discusses the challenges of contemporary democracy in relation to her previous work on democratic representation and on a variety of authors, such as Joseph Schumpeter, Max Weber, Albert Hirschmann, and Bernard Manin. Drawing on her previous research on the importance of will (procedures for decision-making) and opinion (formation and expression of judgements), in her new book, Urbinati develops an account of three different ‘disfigurements’ — technocracy, populism, and plebiscitarianism — that can distort a well-functioning democracy. She traces each of these disfigurements back to ideas and practices that already existed in ancient Athens and Rome, but she claims that they have become even more urgent in the recent decades, forming the main challenges to democracy today. Against this background, she argues in favour of a normative endorsement of democratic proceduralism.