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The Transformation of Politics

Governing in the Age of Complex Societies

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Daniel Innerarity

Nowadays, politics is only one voice among many in the concert of social self-organization. Its function is to articulate the differentiated systems of our societies: it encourages their self-restraint, while at the same time restraining itself.
Such a conception obviously threatens the primacy of the nation-state. While it is not necessarily disappearing, it must nevertheless cease to be thought of as a dominant principle of organization, and must assume its place in a system of regulation that proceeds on several levels. Distant from the anarchist or Marxist theories that herald the end of the state as it is from libertarian theories of the minimal state, the book illustrates that it is possible in the contemporary period to go beyond the alternatives of dirigisme and neoliberal spontaneity.
However, such a transformation can only prove effective through two conditions: we must first reject the enduring opposition between Right and Left, and second, we must invent an anti-state social democracy that is able in its own right to glean the most it can out of the liberal legacy.
This book combines philosophical technicality, clarity and elegance of writing in an attempt to provide politics with meaning again, particularly in an era where discourse about its powerlessness abounds.

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INTRODUCTION. Politics Otherwise .................................................... 11 PART I. THE CONCEPT OF POLITICS CHAPTER 1. Politics as a Possibility ...................................................19 CHAPTER 2. Politics as an Opportunity .............................................25 CHAPTER 3. Politics as an Invention ..................................................29 CHAPTER 4. Politics as a Compromise ...............................................35 CHAPTER 5. Politics as Mediation ......................................................41 CHAPTER 6. The Paradox of Politics ..................................................45 CHAPTER 7. Beware of Morality .........................................................49 PART II. THE NEW SOCIAL LOGIC CHAPTER 1. The New Pluralism .........................................................57 A. The Anatomy of Contemporary Pluralism ..................................57 B. Impossible Neutrality ..................................................................62 C. Probably Unjust Rights ...............................................................68 D. A Confrontational Democracy ....................................................... 71 CHAPTER 2. New Antagonism .............................................................75 CHAPTER 3. The Politics of Identity ...................................................81 CHAPTER 4. The Politics of Visibility .................................................91 CHAPTER 5. The Politics of Security ..................................................95 CHAPTER 6. The Politics of Nature.....................................................99 10 PART III. THE NEW POLITICAL CULTURE CHAPTER 1. Politics Beyond the National State .............................. 105 CHAPTER 2. Governing a Complex Society ..................................... 111 A. The Polycentric Structure of Contemporary Societies .............. 113 B. Politics’ New Tasks ................................................................... 119 C. The Crisis of the Welfare State .................................................. 123 D. Learning to Cooperate ............................................................... 127 E. The Supervisor State ...................................................................... 132 CHAPTER 3. The Right and the Left ................................................. 137 CHAPTER 4. Social Liberalism: A Libertarian Alternative ............ 143 Bibliography ....................................................................................... 151

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