Moving democracy: Industrial Areas Foundation social movements and the political arts of listening, traveling, and tabling

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Practices of listening, receptive corporeal traveling, and moving the democratic table among different constituencies and locations are vital to democratic struggles in a heterogeneous world. Marginalizing these practices weakens ethical-political vision and the strategic capacities of radical democracy. First, this article discusses the importance of moving beyond the accent on voice in a lot of democratic theory, to focus more on practices of listening. Second, it discusses the limits of listening and theorizes the need for practices of receptive corporeal traveling beyond the power-saturated borders and scripted flows of human bodies that characterize most cities. Third, it suggests these insights might alter a fundamental metaphor underpinning many democratic theories, through a critical discussion of the imaginary of the solid democratic "table." It is better to construe democracy as "tabling": an activity in which the tables of engagement must be repeatedly altered by being moved and multiplied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-705
Number of pages28
JournalPolitical Theory
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Democracy
  • Industrial Areas Foundation
  • Listening
  • Receptivity
  • Social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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