citizens against domination

This review-essay was recently published and is available for free: Peter Levine, “Citizens against Domination: A Critical Reading of Ian Shapiro,The Good Society, vol. 28, No. 1-2 (2019), pp. 1-8.

I admire and recommend Shapiro’s book, Politics against Domination, but I use the review as an opportunity to push two positions that I frequently advocate:

  1. The state should not be sharply distinguished from other institutions; it is not uniquely capable of dominating people [or preventing domination]; and
  2. The salient question is not how to design a state to prevent domination–because none of us are really state-designers–but how we should prevent domination by working through the state and the other institutions that we can influence.

The rest of the special issue is valuable. I have been particularly eager to see Brooke Ackerly’s essay, “Rage, Resistance, and Politics against Oppression,” in print. She explores the overlap and the differences between domination–the keyword in modern republican political theory–and oppression, a fundamental term for much of the left, especially for intersectional social movements. That contrast is valuable for anyone to consider.

See also: from classical liberalism to a civic perspective;  do we live in a republic or a democracy?; against state-centric political theory; avoiding arbitrary command; authoritarianism and deliberative democracy.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.