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Public ThingsDemocracy in Disrepair$
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Bonnie Honig

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823276400

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823276400.001.0001

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Democracy’s Necessary Conditions

Democracy’s Necessary Conditions

(p.13) Lecture One Democracy’s Necessary Conditions
Public Things

Bonnie Honig

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the role of public things in democratic theory and in democratic life. It examines the power of public things to stimulate the object relations of democratic collectivity by drawing on the work of D. W. Winnicott, who argues that objects are central to the developing infant's capacity to relate to the world as an external reality. According to Winnicott, the baby needs its transitional object (the blanket, a toy) to supply it with a kind of object-ivity, or realness. The baby learns about the existence of an external world when it destroys/disavows the object and the object survives. This is object permanence. The chapter also considers the views of Wendy Brown, Michael Walzer, and Hannah Arendt in the context of decades of charting the almost always already overness of democracy's (or of politics') necessary conditions.

Keywords:   public things, democratic theory, democratic life, object relations, democratic collectivity, D. W. Winnicott, external reality, object permanence, democracy, Hannah Arendt

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