This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the ‘crisis’ of democracy that is manifest in the increased violence provoked by radical difference or alterity in Western democratic communities and its significance for the thinking and the practical development of democracy today. This volume examines the debates about the relationship between democratic community and intolerable or violently untolerated ‘others’ and the debates about the nature of identity and the possibility of radical democratic critique. It explores the relation between democracy and alterity with respect to power, with respect to the production of subjects and citizens, and with respect to political intervention and resistance. It also analyses the nature of democracy as alterity with respect to the nature of political critique and with respect to the aporetic quality of democracy itself.
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