Interrogating post-democratization: Reclaiming egalitarian political spaces

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There is now an emerging body of thought on the dynamics of de-politicization, the 'disappearance of the political', the erosion of democracy and of the public sphere, and the contested emergence of a post-political or post-democratic socio-spatial configuration. I situate and explore this alleged 'post-democratization' in light of recent post-Althusserian political thought. I proceed in four steps. First, I discuss the contested configurations of this post-politicization and the processes of post-democratization. In a second part, I propose a series of theoretical and political arguments that help frame the evacuation of the properly political from the spaces of post-democratic policy negotiation. This diagnostic is related to a particular interpretation of the distinction between 'the political' and 'polic(e)y/'politics'. In a third part, I argue how emancipatory-democratic politics can be reclaimed around notions of equality, and freedom. In the concluding part, perspectives for re-vitalising the political possibilities of a spatialized emancipatory project are presented. The crux of the argument unfolds the tension between politics, which is always specific, particular, and 'local' on the one hand and the universal procedure of the democratic political that operates under the signifiers of equality and freedom on the other. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Democracy
  • Emancipatory geographies
  • Political space
  • Post-democracy
  • Post-political spatialization
  • Post-politicization


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