Anthoula Malkopoulou

Theories of democratic self-defence: Exclusion, toleration, integration

Political actors who challenge democratic fundamentals have been around for some time. Yet, democracies are yet to determine which is the right way to deal with them. Should we exclude anti-democrats and thereby contradict our own principles of equal inclusion and pluralism? Or should we include them and let our democracies backslide and gradually erode?

Despite its urgency, this crucial dilemma has not been settled yet. Democratic theorists have hitherto focused on justifying militant democracy, the practice of excluding antidemocrats. They have dismissed strategies of toleration, even though the latter are more widely used. They also overlook so-called social approaches that confront anti-democrats by scrapping the structural injustices that these actors exploit.

The aim of this project is to examine militant democracy alongside less studied theories of democratic self-defence that prioritize toleration and social integration respectively. It sheds light into the ideas and normative arguments that sustain them, identifies their conceptual lines of demarcation, analyses their pros and cons, their links and contrasts. My aim is to offer a concentrated, critical reading of a field that is at present overly dispersed.

Appreciating the variety of possible responses to democracy’s challengers can expand our repertoire of resources for defending democracy. By linking these responses to differing conceptions of democracy, the project will also enrich our knowledge of the concept.
Grant administrator
Uppsala University
Reference number
SEK 1,589,700.00
RJ Sabbatical
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)