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Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Normativity and Freedom

Francesca Raimondi
Pages 150-169

The Presumption of Political Freedom
Deconstructing the Origins of Democracy

This paper first presents two prominent and antagonistic accounts of political freedom that identify the latter either with the expression of a collective, sovereign will, or with an open process of mutual recognition and consent-based association in action. In the paradigmatic formulations that Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt give of these two models of freedom, one can detect, however a common methodological assumption. In both cases political freedom is conceived as actualizing itself in some original or founding act or acts. Challenging this assumption by means of a deconstructive perspective on the suppose origin of modern political freedom and democracy, the paper then goes on to formulate an alternative conception of political freedom in this way shows that democratic freedom, though it may already be in place, has constantly to actualize itself in a self-determining process.