Democracy in an age of tragedy: Democracy, tragedy and paradox

Chou, Mark (2010) Democracy in an age of tragedy: Democracy, tragedy and paradox. Critical Horizons, 11 2: 289-313. doi:10.1558/crit.v11i2.289

Author Chou, Mark
Title Democracy in an age of tragedy: Democracy, tragedy and paradox
Journal name Critical Horizons   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-9917
Publication date 2010
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1558/crit.v11i2.289
Open Access Status
Volume 11
Issue 2
Start page 289
End page 313
Total pages 25
Place of publication Durham, United Kingdom
Publisher Acumen Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 3312 Sociology and Political Science
1211 Philosophy
Abstract Democracy and tragedy captured a delicate poise in ancient Athens. While many today perceive democracy as a finite, unquestionable and almost procedural form of governance that glorifies equality and liberty for their own sake, the Athenians saw it as so much more. Beyond the burgeoning equality and liberty, which were but fronts for a deeper goal, finitude, unimpeachability and procedural norms were constantly contradicted by boundlessness, subversion and disarray. In such a world, where certainty and immortality were luxuries beyond the reach of humankind, tragedy gave comfort and inspired greatness. The purpose of this article is to draw explicit links between democracy, tragedy and paradox. Given that tragedy's political ascendancy coincided with the birth of democracy in ancient Athens, we may assume that democracy was somehow, if not implicitly, tragic. But what was it that made democracy and tragedy speak so intimately to each other and to the Athenians who created them? The answer, at least the one which this article entertains, is paradox.
Keyword Athenian democracy
Athenian tragedy
Political Theatre
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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