The Symbiosis of Democracy and Tragedy: Lost Lessons from Ancient Greece

Chou, M. and Bleiker, R. (2009) The Symbiosis of Democracy and Tragedy: Lost Lessons from Ancient Greece. Millennium - Journal of International Studies, 37 3: 659-682. doi:10.1177/0305829809103238

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Author Chou, M.
Bleiker, R.
Title The Symbiosis of Democracy and Tragedy: Lost Lessons from Ancient Greece
Journal name Millennium - Journal of International Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-8298
Publication date 2009-01-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0305829809103238
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 37
Issue 3
Start page 659
End page 682
Total pages 24
Editor Kevork Oskanian
Ramon Pacheco Pardo
Rebekka Friedman
Place of publication London
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Subject 360104 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
750701 Understanding international relations
940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Abstract Democracy and tragedy were intrinsically linked during the time of the Athenian city-state. But though vital at the time, this symbiosis is largely forgotten today. We address this puzzling silence. What was it about democracy that encouraged, even needed, the ascendancy of tragedy? Why did the mass performances of tragedy play so central a role in the democratic polis of Athens? We address these questions not as historians or philologists, but as scholars of contemporary international relations. Our hope, in particular, is to uncover whether the Greek experiment, radical and short-lived as it was, can provide us with clues about how to extend democracy to the global realm, which increasingly shapes people’s lives but so far lacks mechanisms for democratic participation and accountability. We explore how the paradoxical plots that lie at the heart of tragedies remind us – as they did the Greeks – that no order is ever complete or void of contradictions; that democracy is not about complete control but about recognising the limits of politics and dealing with the forces of chaos and change. We illustrate the issues at stake – along with their relevance for contemporary international relations – through tragedy’s so-called multivocal form, which brought into the public realm a multitude of voices and issues that could not otherwise be heard in democratic deliberations.
Keyword chaos
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 18 Sep 2009, 02:00:33 EST by Elmari Louise Whyte on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies