Derrida, Democracy and Violence

Nick Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Democracy is usually identified with openness, order and pluralism and thus peace. Yet, everywhere, from the political convulsions that bring it into being to the wars that aim to extend it, democracy is violent. Usually this violence is seen as accidental or forced upon democracy. The aim of this paper is to argue that the violence of democracy springs from its inextricable if denied relationship to revolution, the drive to re-found the political order properly and definitively. Through a reading of Derrida's account of the relationship between violence and justice in Walter Benjamin, violence is identified as the unstable founding moment which democracy must both pass through in order to emerge and also endlessly recall in its drive to both expand and complete its mission.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-240
    Number of pages10
    JournalStudies in Social Justice
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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