Democratic Revolts & "People Power": Paradoxes of Popular Sovereignty in Practice
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Politics
Course Number: GPOL 5747
Course Format: Seminar, Mobility/Exchange
Location: NYC campus, Off-campus
Permission Required: Yes
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Social Justice
In 2011, inspired, in part, by a series of avowedly democratic uprisings in the Arab world, the United States and several other countries experienced a spectacular series of ephemeral revolts organized by activists committed to prefiguring, through occupations of urban public spaces, a new world of social justice and radical democracy. After reviewing some of the hopes aroused in 2011 by the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, this seminar will flash back to the origins of the modern democratic vision in the work of Rousseau and the experience of the Parisian artisans who experimented with forms of direct political participation at the height of the French Revolution. Then, we will trace this tradition through Marx, Arendt’s paradoxical work On Revolution, and up to the present, asking ourselves: What have we learned about the global potential ? and limits ? of the radical democratic revolts of our own era?
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Not open to Undergraduate students.