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Constituent Moments

Author: Jason Frank
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822391686
Size: 54.36 MB
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Since the American Revolution, there has been broad cultural consensus that “the people” are the only legitimate ground of public authority in the United States. For just as long, there has been disagreement over who the people are and how they should be represented or institutionally embodied. In Constituent Moments, Jason Frank explores this dilemma of authorization: the grounding of democratic legitimacy in an elusive notion of the people. Frank argues that the people are not a coherent or sanctioned collective. Instead, the people exist as an effect of successful claims to speak on their behalf; the power to speak in their name can be vindicated only retrospectively. The people, and democratic politics more broadly, emerge from the dynamic tension between popular politics and representation. They spring from what Frank calls “constituent moments,” moments when claims to speak in the people’s name are politically felicitous, even though those making such claims break from established rules and procedures for representing popular voice. Elaborating his theory of constituent moments, Frank focuses on specific historical instances when under-authorized individuals or associations seized the mantle of authority, and, by doing so, changed the inherited rules of authorization and produced new spaces and conditions for political representation. He looks at crowd actions such as parades, riots, and protests; the Democratic-Republican Societies of the 1790s; and the writings of Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass. Frank demonstrates that the revolutionary establishment of the people is not a solitary event, but rather a series of micropolitical enactments, small dramas of self-authorization that take place in the informal contexts of crowd actions, political oratory, and literature as well as in the more formal settings of constitutional conventions and political associations.

Hybrid Constitutions

Author: Vicki Hsueh
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822391619
Size: 66.51 MB
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In Hybrid Constitutions, Vicki Hsueh contests the idea that early-modern colonial constitutions were part of a uniform process of modernization, conquest, and assimilation. Through detailed analyses of the founding of several seventeenth-century English proprietary colonies in North America, she reveals how diverse constitutional thought and practice were at the time, and how colonial ambitions were advanced through cruelty toward indigenous peoples as well as accommodation of them. Proprietary colonies were governed by individuals (or small groups of individuals) granted colonial charters by the Crown. These proprietors had quasi-sovereign status over their colonies; they were able to draw on and transform English legal and political instruments as they developed constitutions. Hsueh demonstrates that the proprietors cobbled together constitutions based on the terms of their charters and the needs of their settlements. The “hybrid constitutions” they created were often altered based on interactions among the English settlers, other European settlers, and indigenous peoples. Hsueh traces the historical development and theoretical implications of proprietary constitutionalism by examining the founding of the colonies of Maryland, Carolina, and Pennsylvania. She provides close readings of colonial proclamations, executive orders, and assembly statutes, as well as the charter granting Cecilius Calvert the colony of Maryland in 1632; the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, adopted in 1669; and the treaties brokered by William Penn and various Lenni Lenape and Susquehannock tribes during the 1680s and 1690s. These founding documents were shaped by ambition, contingency, and limited resources; they reflected an ambiguous and unwieldy colonialism rather than a purposeful, uniform march to modernity. Hsueh concludes by reflecting on hybridity as a rubric for analyzing the historical origins of colonialism and reconsidering contemporary indigenous claims in former settler colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

A Political Companion To Herman Melville

Author: Jason Frank
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813143888
Size: 59.86 MB
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Herman Melville is widely considered to be one of America's greatest authors, and countless literary theorists and critics have studied his life and work. However, political theorists have tended to avoid Melville, turning rather to such contemporaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to understand the political thought of the American Renaissance. While Melville was not an activist in the traditional sense and his philosophy is notoriously difficult to categorize, his work is nevertheless deeply political in its own right. As editor Jason Frank notes in his introduction to A Political Companion to Herman Melville, Melville's writing "strikes a note of dissonance in the pre-established harmonies of the American political tradition." This unique volume explores Melville's politics by surveying the full range of his work -- from Typee (1846) to the posthumously published Billy Budd (1924). The contributors give historical context to Melville's writings and place him in conversation with political and theoretical debates, examining his relationship to transcendentalism and contemporary continental philosophy and addressing his work's relevance to topics such as nineteenth-century imperialism, twentieth-century legal theory, the anti-rent wars of the 1840s, and the civil rights movement. From these analyses emerges a new and challenging portrait of Melville as a political thinker of the first order, one that will establish his importance not only for nineteenth-century American political thought but also for political theory more broadly.

Populism S Power

Author: Laura Grattan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190277645
Size: 25.28 MB
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Uprisings such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street signal a resurgence of populist politics in America, pitting the people against the establishment in a struggle over control of democracy. In the wake of its conservative capture during the Nixon and Reagan eras, and given its increasing ubiquity as a mainstream buzzword of politicians and pundits, democratic theorists and activists have been eager to abandon populism to right-wing demagogues and mega-media spin-doctors. Decades of liberal scholarship have reinforced this shift, turning the term "populism" into a pejorative in academic and public discourse. At best, they conclude that populism encourages an "empty" wish to express a unified popular will beyond the mediating institutions of government; at worst, it has been described as an antidemocratic temperament prone to fomenting backlash against elites and marginalized groups. Populism's Power argues that such routine dismissals of populism reinforce liberalism as the end of democracy. Yet, as long as democracy remains true to its meaning, that is, "rule by the people," democratic theorists and activists must be able to give an account of the people as collective actors. Without such an account of the people's power, democracy's future seems fixed by the institutions of today's neoliberal, managerial states, and not by the always changing demographics of those who live within and across their borders. Laura Grattan looks at how populism cultivates the aspirations of ordinary people to exercise power over their everyday lives and their collective fate. In evaluating competing theories of populism she looks at a range of populist moments, from cultural phenomena such as the Chevrolet ad campaign for "Our Country, Our Truck," to the music of Leonard Cohen, and historical and contemporary populist movements, including nineteenth-century Populism, the Tea Party, broad-based community organizing, and Occupy Wall Street. While she ultimately expresses ambivalence about both populism and democracy, she reopens the idea that grassroots movements--like the insurgent farmers and laborers, New Deal agitators, and Civil Rights and New Left actors of US history--can play a key role in democratizing power and politics in America.

Sensing The Nation S Law

Author: Stefan Huygebaert
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319754971
Size: 55.75 MB
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This book examines how the nation – and its (fundamental) law – are ‘sensed’ by way of various aesthetic forms from the age of revolution up until our age of contested democratic legitimacy. Contemporary democratic legitimacy is tied, among other things, to consent, to representation, to the identity of ruler and ruled, and, of course, to legality and the legal forms through which democracy is structured. This book expands the ways in which we can understand and appreciate democratic legitimacy. If (democratic) communities are “imagined” this book suggests that their “rightfulness” must be “sensed” – analogously to the need for justice not only to be done, but to be seen to be done. This book brings together legal, historical and philosophical perspectives on the representation and iconography of the nation in the European, North American and Australian contexts from contributors in law, political science, history, art history and philosophy.

Publius And Political Imagination

Author: Jason Frank
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0742548163
Size: 41.46 MB
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Jason Frank’s Publius and Political Imagination is the first volume of the Modernity and Political Thought series to take as its focus not a single author, but collaboration between political philosophers, in this very special case the collective known by the pseudonym: Publius.

Publius And Political Imagination

Author: Jason Frank
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0742548163
Size: 59.84 MB
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Jason Frank’s Publius and Political Imagination is the first volume of the Modernity and Political Thought series to take as its focus not a single author, but collaboration between political philosophers, in this very special case the collective known by the pseudonym: Publius.

Sociability And Cosmopolitanism

Author: David Burrow
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317321669
Size: 15.53 MB
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This collection of essays expands the focus of Enlightenment studies to include countries outside the core nations of France, Germany and Britain. Notions of sociability and cosmopolitanism are explored as ways in which people sought to improve society.

Imagined Sovereignties

Author: Kevin Olson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 131659209X
Size: 79.51 MB
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Movements like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the Tea Party embody some of our deepest intuitions about popular politics and 'the power of the people'. They also expose tensions and shortcomings in our understanding of these ideals. We typically see 'the people' as having a special, sovereign power. Despite the centrality of this idea in our thinking, we have little understanding of why it has such importance. Imagined Sovereignties probes the considerable force that 'the people' exercises on our thought and practice. Like the imagined communities described by Benedict Anderson, popular politics is formed around shared, imaginary constructs rooted in our collective imagination. This book investigates these 'imagined sovereignties' in a genealogy traversing the French Enlightenment, the Haitian Revolution, and nineteenth-century Haitian constitutionalism. It problematizes taken-for-granted ideas about popular politics and provokes new ways of imagining the power of the people.

Sovereignty And Its Other

Author: Dimitris Vardoulakis
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
ISBN: 0823251357
Size: 38.22 MB
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In this new book, Dimitris Vardoulakis asks how it is possible to think of a politics that is not commensurate with sovereignty. For such a politics, he argues, sovereignty is defined not in terms of the exception but as the different ways in which violence is justified. Vardoulakis shows how it is possible to deconstruct the various justifications of violence. Such de-justifications can only take place by presupposing an other to sovereignty, which Vardoulakis identifies with radical democracy. In doing so, Sovereignty and Its Other puts forward both a novel critique of sovereignty and an original philosophical theory of democratic practice.