The Limits of Liberal Democracy: Prospects for Democratizing Democracy

Viviana Asara

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This critical commentary discusses Stephan Lessenich’s
recent work on democracy. It argues that—to understand the structural
boundaries of welfare capitalist democracy—we must critically unearth the
limits of liberal democracy. This article first maintains that the absence of an
economic democratization dimension is an outcome of liberal democracy’s
shrinking of the meaning of the political. It next claims that defining democracy
in terms of rights does not duly consider how these unfolded historically
and recently, nor clarifies their relation with negative freedom. The article
then contends that the environmentally destructive dialectic of democracy
and the belittlement of reproductive work stem from the constitution of
a narrowly defined economic sphere, from which “reproductive activities”
are excluded. Finally, the text reflects on what “democratizing democracy”
should entail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73 - 85
JournalDemocratic Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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