Recommend to your Librarian

Politics of Dialogue

Non-consensual Democracy and Critical Community

Leszek Koczanowicz

eBook (PDF) i

Uses Bakhtin's thought to reassess the roles of dialogue, community and democracy in political theory

Contemporary democracy is in crisis. People believe less and less in a system of democratic institutions that can cope with today's social problems. Leszek Koczanowicz sheds new light on this problem, using the ideas of M. M. Bakhtin and others to show that dialogue in democracy can transcend both antagonistic and consensual perspectives.

Show more


1. Democracy and Everyday Life, 1.1 Pragmatism as a Response to the Crisis of Democracy, 1.2 George Herbert Mead’s Concept of Language as Dialogue, 1.3 George Herbert Mead: The Political, Democracy, and Everyday Life, 1.4 George Hebert Mead: The Self and Democracy – Between Conflict and Integration, 1.5 John Dewey: Individual, Community, and Democracy, 1.6 Conclusion: The Pragmatist Concept of Democracy and its Role in the Contemporary Debate on Democratic Society
2. Dialogue, Carnival, Democracy: Mikhail Bakhtin and Political Theory, 2.1 Politics and Mikhail Bakhtin’s Notion of Language, 2.2 The utterance as a Unit of Language, 2.3 Ideology and the Utterance, 2.4 Understanding and the Utterance, 2.5 Dialogue, Understanding, and the Utterance, 2.6 Dialogue and the Social, 2.7 Carnival and Democracy, 2.8 Conclusion: Dialogue, Carnival, and Democracy
3. Critical Community, 3.1 Democracy and Community, 3.2 Modernity and Community: A Genealogy, 3.3 Are Liberalism and Community Eternal Enemies?, 3.4 Communitarian Challenge: Community and Identity, 3.5 Creation, Self-creation, and Community, 3.6 Embodied Communities, 3.7 Critical Community
4. Coda: Nonconsensual Democracy as a Political Form of Critical Community, 4.1 Democratic Community between Consensus and Disagreement, 4.2 Non-consensual Democracy: Dialogue, Solidarity and Democratic Politics, 4.3 Non-consensual Democracy: Dialogue and Understanding, 4.4 Non-consensual Democracy: Culture, Institutions and Understanding

About the Author

Leszek Koczanowicz is Professor in the Warsaw School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland. Author of: Analyses of Human Action (Wroclaw University Press, 1990), G.H. Mead (Wroclaw University Press, 1992), Individual - Activity - Society: The Concept of the Self in American Pragmatism (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of Polish Academy of Science Press, 1994), Community and Emancipations. The Discussion of the Post-conventional Society (Lower Silesia University Press, 2005) and Politics of Time. Dynamics of Identity in Post-Communist Poland (Berghahn Books, 2008) [in English]. He is co-editor, with Beth J. Singer, of Democracy and Totalitarian Experience (Rodopi, 2005) [in English].


Drawing on the resources of the American pragmatist tradition, Bakhtin’s dialogic notion of interaction, and his own experiences in post-Communist Eastern Europe, the distinguished Polish political theorist Leszek Koczanowiz enters the current conversation about the nature of democracy with a new and arresting argument. Contesting wan proceduralism and the telos of deliberative consensus, he offers instead a model of a critical community that emerges out of the practices of everyday life and fosters the understanding of difference rather than the demand for full agreement.

- Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley