William E. Connolly’s political theory forms a distinct and influential contribution to contemporary debates about the nature and prospects of democratic life in the twenty-first century. His original conceptualisations of pluralism, naturalism, the politics of the body, religion, secularism and his daring incorporation of contemporary neurobiology into political theory and analysis, have opened new paths for intellectual enquiry. Connolly has brought an American tradition of pragmatist political thinking into fruitful conversation with the best of contemporary continental European philosophy and given to both a new energy and focus.
In this edited collection, a distinguished panel of political theorists from both Europe and the US provide a critical and nuanced assessment of his contribution to the discipline, especially in the field of democratic theory. They identify the sources of Connolly’s work, its connections to other ways of thinking about the political and they evaluate his continuing contribution to our understanding of the problems and promises of the present and to our appreciation of what it might mean to fulfil the promise of the democratic way of life.
The final chapter provides space for Connolly himself to reflect on his interlocutors and further develop his conception of a ‘world of becoming’ considering the links between political theory and the science of complexity while focusing on the immediate challenges facing both American and world politics.
Democracy and Pluralism provides a critical introduction to the work of William E. Connolly and to contemporary debates in political theory encompassing topics such as radical democracy, the body, religion, time and contingency.