Marcel Gauchet and the Crisis of Democratic Politics  book cover
1st Edition

Marcel Gauchet and the Crisis of Democratic Politics

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ISBN 9780367690243
February 18, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

This book presents, for the first time in the English language, Marcel Gauchet’s interpretation of the challenges faced by contemporary western societies as a result of the crisis of liberal democratic politics and the growing influence of populism.

Responding to Gauchet’s analysis, international experts explore the depoliticising aspects of contemporary democratic culture that explain the appeal of populism: neo-liberal individualism, the cult of the individual and its related human rights, the juridification of all human relationships. It also provides the intellectual context within which Gauchet’s understanding of modern society has developed; in particular, his critical engagement with Marxism and the profound influence of Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort on his work. The book highlights the way Gauchet’s work remains faithful to an understanding of history that stresses the role of humanity as a collective subject, and also seeking to account for both the historical novelty of contemporary individualism and the new form of alienation that radical modernity engenders. In doing so, the book also opens up new avenues for reflection on the political significance of the contemporary health crisis.

Marcel Gauchet and the Crisis of Democratic Politics will be of great interest to scholars and postgraduate students of social and political thought, political anthropology and sociology, political philosophy, and political theory.

Table of Contents

Preface: Why Read Marcel Gauchet?

Daniel Tanguay

Introduction: Marcel Gauchet: His Work in Context

Natalie J. Doyle and Sean McMorrow

Part 1: Marcel Gauchet and the Contemporary Crisis of Democratic Politics

1. Democracy from One Crisis to Another

Marcel Gauchet, trans. Natalie J. Doyle, Mark Hewson and Sean McMorrow

2. Populism as Symptom

Marcel Gauchet, trans. Natalie J. Doyle, Mark Hewson and Sean McMorrow

Part 2: Insights into Marcel Gauchet’s Exploration of Political Modernity

3. The Eclipse of the Political

Stéphane Vibert

4. The Political Forms of Modernity: The Gauchet-Badiou Debate over Democracy and Communism

Craig Browne

5. Marcel Gauchet’s Political Anthropology: Originary Social Division and the ‘Processual’ Autonomy of a Community

Sean McMorrow

Part 3: Reflections on Marcel Gauchet’s Analysis of Contemporary Democratic Culture

6. The Political History of Individualism

Mark Hewson

7. Human Rights, Legal Democracy, and Populism

Paul Blokker

8. Juridification, Liberal Legalism and the Depoliticization of Government

Julian Martin and Natalie J. Doyle

9. Thinking the Populist Challenge with and against Marcel Gauchet

Brian C. J Singer

Part 4: Applying Gauchet's Analysis of Liberal Democracies: Beyond the Crisis?

10. The New World of Neo-Liberal Democracy

Natalie J. Doyle

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Natalie J. Doyle is adjunct senior research fellow in French studies, within the Faculty of Arts, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Dr. Doyle has researched European social and political thought, classical and contemporary, with particular reference to interpretations of modernity. Through a series of articles, book chapters, translations with critical introductions and a monograph, she has established her international profile as a leading specialist of Marcel Gauchet’s political philosophy.

Séan McMorrow is managing editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. He teaches at the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy (Australia).


"Deeper engagement with the work of Marcel Gauchet is important for both social science and understanding the contemporary world and its crises. In this volume, Doyle and McMorrow combine translations of new work by Gauchet with astute and timely discussions of how his work informs contemporary debates on democracy. It should be widely read."

Craig Calhoun, Arizona State University

"Slowly but surely, Marcel Gauchet is being recognized as a key thinker whose work is a vastly more insightful account of the modern condition than the fashionable canon of "French theory." He has published path-breaking analyses of twentieth-century totalitarianisms as well as of the more recent neo-liberal turn. This collection of critical essays on various aspects of his thought, accompanied by two of his most representative shorter texts, is a landmark in the English-language debate around Gauchet´s interpretation of democracy, its preconditions and its contemporary problems."

Johann P. Arnason, La Trobe University/Charles University