2019 | 2 (48) | 307-318
Article title

A Few Problems with Mouffe’s Agonistic Political Theory

Title variants
Languages of publication
he main goal of examining a single philosophical theory, connected with social and political disciplines, is not just to identify its incoherence or to restate the theory in a more elegant way. More important in that kind of investigation is to show its possible impact on people’s lives and the functioning of communities. Thus, it seems more reasonable to conduct a critical analysis of the possible consequences for a real society than to undertake a simple study of the argument’s logical consistency. The main aim of this paper is to introduce doubts about the thesis of Chantal Mouffe presented by her in Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically and Passion and Politics. Main hypothesis is that thinking about the “political” and “politics” with reference to enmity as well as claiming that the source of every political and social activity is antagonism, can provoke an attitude that social and political scenes are battlefields rather than an agora or the space of human interactions. First of all, the author provides the critical analysis and reconstruction of the most important claims connected with the “political”, which can have strong negative effects-i.e. brutalization and creating a negative basis for social relation. Then presents a few possible sources of thinking of “political” as a “competition” or rather “enmity”. The last part it is the critic of what Mouffe claims about reason why people get involve into politics, based on the psychological experiments and in result of this the author shows the importance of validity the high standards in politics, diplomacy and relation on the social level.
Physical description
  • Jagiellonian University (Poland)
  • Arendt, H. (2005). The Promise of Politics, New York: Schocken Books.
  • Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., & Akert, R.M. (2013). Social psychology: The heart and the mind, Boston, Columbus, Indianapolis. New York, NY, US: Pearson.
  • Berkowitz, L., LePage, A. (1967). Weapons as aggression eliciting stimuli, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 7, pp. 202-207.
  • Berkowitz, L. (1981). How guns control us, Psychology Today, pp. 11-12.
  • Brzeziński, Z. (2014). Agonia komunizmu, Kraków: Instytut Literacki Kultura-Instytut Książki.
  • Bushman, B., Baumeister, R., Stack, A. (1999). Catharsis, Aggression and Persuasive Influence: Self-Fulfilling or Self-Defeating Prophecies?, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(3), pp. 367-376.
  • Davitz, J. (1952). The effects of previous training on postfrustration behavior, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, pp. 309-315. Einstein-Freud Correspondence (1931-1932), Retrieved from:
  • Frank, J.D. (1978). Psychotherapy and the human predicament. A psychosocial approach, New York: Schocken Books.
  • Freud, S., & Hubback, C.J.M. (1922). Beyond the pleasure principle. London: The International psychoanalytical Press.
  • Geen, R., Quanty, M. (1977). The catharsis of aggression: An evaluation of an hypothesis, in: L.Berkowitz (red.), Advances in experimental social psychology (vol. 10, pp. l-36), New York: Academic Press. Golden, B. Should You Visit an Anger Room? What to consider before you do, Retrieved from:
  • Habermas, J. (2000). The Inclusion of the Other, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  • Laclau, E., Mouffe, Ch. (1985). Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, London: Verso.
  • Levi, P. (1986). Survival in Auschwitz; and The Reawakening. Two memoirs. New York: Summit Books.
  • Mouffe, Ch. (1993). The Return on the Political, New York: Verso.
  • Mouffe, Ch. (2000). Politics and Passions: The Stakes of Democracy. Ethical Perspectives, vol. 7, No. 2-3, p. 146.
  • Mouffe, Ch. (2000). The Democratic Paradox, New York: Verso.
  • Mouffe, Ch. (2005). On the Political, London, New York, Routledge.
  • Mouffe, Ch. (2013). Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically, London, New York: Verso.
  • Nussbaum, M. (2004). Beyond the Social Contract: Capabilities and Global Justice, Oxford Development Studies, vol. 32, No. 1.
  • Patterson, A. (1974). Hostility Catharsis: A Naturalistic Quasi-Experiment, Personality and Social Psychology Bullerin, pp. 195-197.
  • Rawls, J. (1999). Theory of Justice, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Rawls, J. (1993). The law of Peoples, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Rawls, J. 2005 (1993). Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Russell, G.W. (1983). Psychological issues in sports aggression. In J.H. Goldstein (ed.), Sports violence, New York: Springer-Verlag.
  • Sen, A. (2009). Idea of Justice, Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Cambridge.
  • Schmitt, C. (2008). Political Theology. Cambridge: Polit Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.