Following on from my recent posts “tautology” and “radical”, here is my draft review of Radical Democracy and Beyond Hegemony: “Radical Philosophy?”. As it is a draft, please do not cite without permission.
As a taster, the conclusion:
Schecter’s critique of purported post-liberalism, as simply a warmed-over liberalism that conserves the worst rather than the best of what it claims to supercede, is a useful antidote to theories of radical democracy. His analysis of liberalism’s paradoxes, while not always novel, is also sharp and to the point. However, he might have considered more the possibility that we are already living in a posthegemonic age. Bush, Blair, and Co. hardly stir themselves much to fabricate consensus these days–indeed, Blair’s main argument for the war in Iraq is now that precisely the unpopularity of his policies is a guarantee that he is not merely bowing to the court of legitimate public opinion. Moreover, is not Schecter’s dream of a “constant exchange of information between producers [. . .] and consumers” (138) not already with us albeit in the form of questionnaires, focus groups, and the information derived from loyalty cards on the one hand, and advertising and the ideologies of business transparency on the other? We are already beyond hegemony, and whatever else radicalism might be, surely it does not involve rescuing liberalism, whether in its purer, idealist, form or in its corrupt, democratizing, incarnations.