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Document Details :

Title: Weerbare democratie
Subtitle: Een antwoord op extremisme?
Author(s): LIEVENS, Matthias
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 79    Issue: 3   Date: 2017   
Pages: 429-451
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.79.3.3271930

Abstract :
Democracy should be able to defend itself against forces which try to undermine the democratic order from within. This is the starting point of the debate about militant democracy, which has gained renewed impetus in the context of terrorist attacks and often religiously motivated radicalisation. On the basis of the work of Carl Schmitt and Chantal Mouffe, this paper questions whether existing conceptions of militant democracy (such as practiced in post-war Germany) are really capable of preventing processes of radicalisation. This argument is based on an investigation of a fundamental tension in Schmitt’s work between his analysis of the vulnerability of political order and the need for a guardian of the constitution on the one hand, and his argument that repressing conflict can intensify it 'beyond the political' so as to lose control over its dynamics. This is fundamentally also the tension of militant democracy: in order to protect itself, it represses certain forms of conflict by taking away the avenues into which they can be channelled, which can actually reinforce forms of radicalisation. Whereas Schmitt defends a strong executive to depoliticise the domestic sphere, Chantal Mouffe takes the alternative route within the tension characterising Schmitt’s work. She strongly argues in favour of allowing and thereby de-intensifying conflict by turning antagonism into agonism, thus preventing processes of radicalisation.

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