Metabasis N. 24
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Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

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Populism and democracy

Populism and democracy

November 2017 - Year XII - Number 24

Political reflections

Direct parliamentarianism and the resiliency of political representation

Davide Gianluca Bianchi

DOI: 10.7413/18281567106

This article analyses, in the central part, the functionality of the Rousseau platform created by the 5 Star Movement, in relation to the theory of representation. The introductory part resumes Hanna Pitkin's arguments in his classic study on political representation (1967), translated this year into Italian. The conclusions highlight the reasons for the success of the union between representation and democracy, in order to demonstrate how and why political representation is enduring – and will likely endure in the immediate future – the challenge brought by direct democracy and, in particular, by ‘direct parliamentarianism' implemented by platforms such as Rousseau.

Of rights and duties. Cues for overcoming the inflation of rights

Carmela Bianco

DOI: 10.7413/18281567107

Far away are the times when human nature was considered an unmistakable organism. Discussions on whether or not to take action to treat diseases with genetic engineering procedures have always been favorable to those who are opposed, with the sole assumption of the will to defend their opinion. You claim the right of choice to do what you want your body. But the claim of a right does not rely on respect for a duty? Duty calls for responsibility. Understanding the duties means getting ready for an endless conflict of rights. In today's reality, there are still no rules that absolutely guarantee the right: justice does not live with direct experience. Only injustice has been experienced. This awareness can be useful to those who claim to be always right.

Rethinking popular sovereignty starting from the concept of accountability

Luca Gasbarro

DOI: 10.7413/18281567109

This essay aims to critically analyze the concept of accountability. In fact, that notion, concerns the regulation of the relationship between rulers and ruled, referring to the mechanisms of demand, justification and control, capable of making more accessible political participation. For this feature, accountability is an interesting tool to enhance the debate on the foundations of democracy, on its implementation difficulties and its characteristics of representation and participation.

Law and policy between history and intra-history

Franca Menichetti

DOI: 10.7413/18281567110

In the following pages, I don’t discuss the philosophy of natural law, but the opposite philosophy: the philosophy of a new historicism, in which all the ideals of law and politics are still strong and alive, when are denied. Two examples: the hospitality and the overcoming of cosmopolitism. Sub 1. Everybody has the right to present himself as a guest. Everybody has the duty to give hospitality. Sub 2. The cosmopolitism isn’t far from his negation. And the negation, in terms of theoretic and practical philosophy of law and politics, refuses the particularity without universality and the universality without particularity: two abstractions, if disunited.

Populism and medial body

Giuliana Parotto

DOI: 10.7413/18281567112

The paper deals with a particular typology of populism, which develops in the “society of spectacle”, described by Guy Debord nearly 50 years ago in his still relevant book. Populism means the claim of a broader political space by people and is linked with a deep distrust in the political elite perceived as the origin of any social hardship. The “Society of spectacle”, where the social life is subsumed by technology and images, leads to a personalization of politics and the political leaders are replaced by their simulacra. When populism involves a strong political leader, who is a simulacrum, new issues emerge. The paper analyzes and illuminates these phenomena, showing the growing dangers they represent for democracy.

Democracy and populism. On the impossibility of a post-representative democracy, starting from B. Constant and N. Bobbio

Erasmo Silvio Storace

DOI: 10.7413/18281567113

The theme of representation, in the form of democratic government, has always been a problem worthy of investigation, from the origin of the debate to the present day. Today, for instance, new political subjects, often called “populists”, tend to propose new ways of political participation. To address these issues, we can refer to a great classic of political thought, Benjamin Costant, approaching it through the key of reading offered by Norberto Bobbio. Both authors, although in different forms, show the limits of a non-representative democracy, so that Bobbio, in his review of the concept of “freedom” starting from the work of Costant, will come to argue that democracy is “the only achievable”. The second part of the article focuses on the impossibility of a post-representative democracy today, focusing first on the genesis of the crisis of representation, from which arise phenomena that can be summarized under the name of “post-democracy”.

The dilemma of democracy

Teresa Tonchia

DOI: 10.7413/18281567114

Democracy establishes an ideal, a model to which both modernity and post-modernity tend towards for the realization of a world of equals where everyone finds oneself free. A world that needs to consider its origin and its power that it’s anchored in the people’s will and people’s sovereignty. The idea of democracy contains in itself an element of unattainability because it produces its degeneration the moment this ideal translates to reality. We can read democracy as an identity where dualism between people and its representative figure does not exist: the leader and the people thus evoke a populist leadership which on its own turn can represent yet another “deviation” of democracy.

Can populism be an ally of democracy?

Massimo Vittorio

DOI: 10.7413/18281567116

The paper focuses on the concept of populism and its relationship with democracy. At the beginning, a brief history of the origins of populism is outlined. Then, the paper analyses the social and political qualities of populism and whether and how they relate to democracy. The core of the paper is represented by a consideration of Dewey’s view of populism and democracy and his role in the League. The paper concludes with an assessment of populism as possible ally of democracy.

Philosophical Horizons

Lash, the active forces of desire and the Sociology of Instinct

Eduardo Portanova Barros et Antonio César Fosenca

DOI: 10.7413/18281567105

This article is part of a research about the Sociology of Instinct inspired in the British Scott Lash and his book “Sociology of Postmodernism” (1997) specifically in the chapter “Genealogy and Body: Foucault, Deleuze and Nietzsche”. According to him, Deleuze and Nietzsche were marginalized if compared to the genealogical status of Foucault. As for Nietzsche, Lash says that little attention is paid to questions about the genealogical method in his work. The proposal of Lash, therefore, is to expand, as he said, the discussion. And to expand, in its conception, we must speak of genealogy not only according to Foucault, who would not be the only genealogist, but also in accordance with Deleuze and Nietzsche. The pleasure is to replace the passive body by active forces of desire.

Oedipus King and not-King. The aesthetic of the legal and political labyrinth

Domenico Corradini

DOI: 10.7413/18281567108

In Σοφοκλέους, Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, the critics (of literature, as well of legal and political philosophy) considers at the center of the attention the conflict between Oedipus and Creon, the first a King and a not-King, the second an ex Regent and in the end a King. These pages, instead, persist: (1) on Sphinx in its far-sightedness; (2) on Jocasta, that makes inquires, and (3) on the Oedipus’s conviction or prophecy that Antigone and Ismene will live without weddings and therefore without white flowers of good wishes. Philosophy of law and of politics is for me connected, in an indissoluble way, to the music and theater, to the picture and photos.

The corporeity of terror

Raffaella Sabra Palmisano

DOI: 10.7413/18281567111

The recent developments of terrorism seem to be related to a conception of Alterity and body which is due to an hermeneutic of human being that the Author supposes to be originated by what can be called the “contemporary solipsismus”. The question of terrorism is here analyzed by attempting to define how the hermeneutic of the “contemporary solipsismus” acts and how it influences the conception and the experience of terrorism. Firmly believing in the inseparability of thought and action, the Author aims to demonstrate - by using some concepts of medical anthropology - how the perception and the experience of terrorism is related to the contemporary solipsismus and particularly to its conception of Alterity and body.

Critique of (no) populist reason

Natascia Villani

DOI: 10.7413/18281567115

So what is populism? Is it an ideology, a social movement, a form of leadership, or a political regime? Resuming the intuition and the title of Laclau’s work, The populist reason, which collects thirty years of study about Latin American experience, we tried to answer to this question by re-examining all the stages of philosophical and sociological speculation, highlighting the polysemic aspects that make it hardly ascribable to a unit, even rhetorical-exhibit. From the backdrop of the processes of modernization to the logic of political action, populism needs to be read as a true political theory without that denigrating attitude that relegated it into a subordinate and pathological status. Populism is therefore a political experiment, the result of the eloquence of the elites and of a personalistic politics, which today finds its roots in contemporary democracies. Instead of a rational model that has long read populism in terms of lack of illness, incurable incurability, today we pro-pose to broaden our vision and consider populism as a possible structuring of political life.

Plato, esotericism, politics

Carmelo Muscato

DOI: 10.7413/18281567117

The significance of Plato’s unwritten doctrines was a much discussed problem in the last decades of the last century. Today it may be useful to return to this issue in order to investigate some aspects that have not been properly considered yet. The main point is an understanding of esotericism and its philosophical-political implications. The interpretation of the School of Tubingen underlies the assumption of a universally valid knowledge which assigns no place to esoteric knowledge in the proper sense of the term. Moreover, behind that conception of knowledge, according to which secrecy and esotericism are only a legacy from the past, it should be pointed out an uncritical assumption of the superiority of the present, of the current conception of knowledge and of the corresponding political regime.

Variations on the concept of minority

Fabrizio Sciacca

DOI: 10.7413/18281567118

The aim of this work is to show that ‘minority’ can be viewed as an artificial concept rather than a natural one. Therefore, its essential political meaning is conventional, not ethical.

The enlightened burgeois, the black burgeois. Schopenhauer as a critic of modern society in Horkheimer’s thought

Simone Cavallini

DOI: 10.7413/18281567119

This article outlines Horkheimer’s reinterpretation of Schopenhauer’s philosophy in his Sozialphilosophische Studien, it highlights its internal contradiction and on this basis it elaborates a dialectical interpretation key that can explain how Schopenhauer’s philosophy can still be actual today as a criticism on modern society. The first paragraph sketches the contradiction in Horkheimer’s vision of Schopenhauer’s social philosophy, where it appears as a contrast between his conservatism and his progressivism. The second one clarifies the ontological foundation of the State and correlatively the meaning of Schopenhauer’s conservatism as an apologia for the repressive society. The third paragraph, by virtue of the results of the second one, elaborates a dialectical interpretation key for Horkheimer’s reinterpretation of Schopenhauer’s thought and with this key it shows how its apologia dialectically turns into a strong critique on modern society and it puts it in relation with the critical theory of the Frankfurt School.

Metabasis N. 24
digital edition

peer review

Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

Evaluation Form