Harvard Educational Review
  1. The Return of the Political

    By Chantal Mouffe

    London: Verso, 1993. 156 pp. $14.95 (paper).

    Political philosopher Chantal Mouffe contends in The Return of the Political that if we are to understand realistically and face the tribulations and chaos that are carrying us into the next century, we must first rupture the prevailing essentialist conception of politics, which is based on rationalism, universalism, and consensus. Mouffe clearly presents the case that such a confining vision inhibits us from realizing a democratic theory that embraces and engages the multiplicity of political positions and antagonisms in society, as well as the diverse and competing conceptions of our role as citizens. Without the presence of the various and often polarized political voices, Mouffe cogently argues, democracy, as a process, is impossible.

    This book is an indispensable read for anyone interested in the debates over the realities and possibilities of cultural democracies, liberalism, and citizenship. For any educator with a remaining ray of hope for a more egalitarian and just society, a thorough -n-class exploration of Mouffe's work should spark the necessary critical discussions and debates, and thus pedagogical conditions, within which we actually participate democratically as both learners and teachers.

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