Anthropology of Democracy. Theories of Human Political Agency

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Frederik Stjernfelt


Aalborg University


DKK 888,000




Monograph Fellowships


Humanity Contested sets out to examine the anthropological foundation of democracy and to provide a unified account of how different ideologies and political styles of reasoning depend on deep-seated notions of humanity. Not only do ideologies compete to determine the ideal outcomes of a well-ordered society: collective welfare, individual utility, preservation of tradition, respect for identity etc. They also compete to determine different ideals of human agency.


Oftentimes, philosophical anthropology and political theory are only briefly connected in public discussions. Our main scientific starting point is that existing political anthropologies are simplistic or reductive. Our basic contention is that an updated philosophical anthropology must be perspectivist in the sense that it must unite an open series of approaches describing different aspects of human beings


Humanity Contested provides a new view of the anthropological underpinnings of democracy. By clearly stating how ideals of human agency are hypothesized and integrated in different ideological positions, the book sheds new light on the humanistic foundation for democratic and counter-democratic movements.

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