The project will present and compare current theories on the (re)politicisation of democracy, classify them within the history of ideas, and systematise them according to both empirical and normative criteria. Two key interests form the focus: first, to clarify how these theories conceptualise the tense relationships that are constitutive for the democratic form of government, namely those between conflict and consensus, identity and otherness, participation and representation, and between institutional stability and spontaneity of action. Second, the perspectives that the examined theories reveal about a recovery of political contingency and democratic equality against the background of the current transformation of democracy will be discussed critically and assessed with regard to their feasibility for social practices and existing political institutions.
The discussion about the depoliticisation tendencies of contemporary democratic orders and the perspective of their (re)politicisation is as broad as it is heterogeneous. The project concentrates on those theories that cling to the doubly normative claim of democracy: democratic politics should both enable the reflexive design of social living conditions and provide the individual citizen with equal opportunities to exert influence on the process of political decision-making. We identify overall parallels between these theories in the centrality of the concept of conflict and assume that their different present-analytical findings, as well as their contrary political perspectives, can be determined from the definition of the political conflict in each case and its meaning for democracy.