Democracy and Pluralism
The Political Thought of William E. Connolly
Edited by Alan Finlayson
Routledge – 2008 – 252 pages
William E. Connolly’s political theory forms a distinct and influential contribution to contemporary debates about the nature and prospects of democratic life in the twenty-first century. His original conceptualisations of pluralism, naturalism, the politics of the body, religion, secularism and his daring incorporation of contemporary neurobiology into political theory and analysis, have opened new paths for intellectual enquiry. Connolly has brought an American tradition of pragmatist political thinking into fruitful conversation with the best of contemporary continental European philosophy and given to both a new energy and focus.
In this edited collection, a distinguished panel of political theorists from both Europe and the US provide a critical and nuanced assessment of his contribution to the discipline, especially in the field of democratic theory. They identify the sources of Connolly’s work, its connections to other ways of thinking about the political and they evaluate his continuing contribution to our understanding of the problems and promises of the present and to our appreciation of what it might mean to fulfil the promise of the democratic way of life.
The final chapter provides space for Connolly himself to reflect on his interlocutors and further develop his conception of a ‘world of becoming’ considering the links between political theory and the science of complexity while focusing on the immediate challenges facing both American and world politics.
Democracy and Pluralism provides a critical introduction to the work of William E. Connolly and to contemporary debates in political theory encompassing topics such as radical democracy, the body, religion, time and contingency.
Introduction: Becoming Plural Alan Finlayson 1. Pluralizing Methods: Contingency, Ethics, and Critical Explanation David Howarth 2. Ethos and Late-Modern Democracy Stephen White 3. Connolly, Embodiment, Conversion, and Mysticism: Learning to Be Present in the Present Thomas Dumm 4. Bill Connolly’s Others: Erotics and Cinematics Michael Shapiro 5. Interpretation, Political Theory, and the Hegemony of Normative Theorizing Sophia Mihic 6. Hate, Loathing and Political Theory: Thinking With and Against William Connolly Moya Lloyd 7. A Post-Secular Faith? Connolly on Pluralism and Evil James Martin 8. Beyond Secularism: Immanence and Transcendence in the Political Thought of William E. Connolly Luca Mavelli 9. Connolly’s Embodied Politics: Revolutionising the Practices of Everyday Life Gulshan Khan 10. Must We Persist to Continue? : William Connolly’s Critical Responsiveness Beyond the Limits of the Human Species Jairus Grove 11. Time, politics and contingency in Connolly’s political thought Jeremy Valentine 12. A World of Becoming William E. Connolly
Alan Finlayson is Reader in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Swansea University. He has written widely on political theories of radical democracy and on the critical analysis of ideology and governmentality in British Politics.