Machiavelli and the Politics of Democratic Innovation
Published: July 2018© 2018
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 320 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.10
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.10 x 1.20 in
Presenting a detailed reinterpretation and reconstruction of the political thought of Niccolò Machiavelli, Machiavelli and the Politics of Democratic Innovation uses original readings of Machiavelli’s texts to develop a new theoretical model of democratic practice. The book critically and creatively juxtaposes certain concepts drawn from Machiavelli’s work in order to produce new political insights.
Christopher Holman identifies two unique ideas in Machiavelli through his rearrangement of Machiavellian concepts. The first, drawn primarily from The Prince, is an image of the individual human being as a creative subject that seeks the exteriorization of desire via political creation. The second, drawn primarily from The Discourses on Livy, is an image of the democratic republic as a form of regime in which this desire for creative self-expression is universalized, all citizens being able to affirm their psychic orientation toward innovation through their equal access to political institutions and orders. Such institutions and orders, to the extent that they function as media for the expression of a fundamental human creativity, must be arranged so that they are capable of continual interrogation and refinement. In the final instance, a new ethical ground for the normative defense of democratic life is constructed, one grounded in the orientation of individual beings toward novelty and innovation.
2. The Contingency of Being: On Worldly and Human Indetermination
3. Politics and the Human Essence: The Prince as a Model of Human Subjectivity
4. Ambition and the People: The Popular Form of the Desire for Creation
5. Social Equality and the Contingent Being of the Great
6. Institutionalizing Ambitious Expression: The Republic as the Self-Overcoming Regime
"…Holman presents a new interpretation of Machiavelli as a ‘method of thinking radical democracy.’"Catherine H. Zuckert, University of Notre Dame, The Review of Politics, vol 81
"Machiavelli and the Politics of Democratic Innovation is an original and important intervention into debates over the democratic character of Machiavelli’s political thought. Christopher Holman’s approach to Machiavelli differs fundamentally from the most influential contemporary post-Marxist interpreters of Machiavelli he understands Machiavelli’s texts at a much more intimate level than they do, and he engages the problem of socio-economic and political domination with far more sensitivity."John P. McCormick, author of Machiavellian Democracy and Reading Machiavelli
"Machiavelli and the Politics of Democratic Innovation offers a series of novel and provocative interpretive arguments about Machiavelli’s The Prince and the Discourses on Livy. In this erudite and well-researched book, Christopher Holman makes a strong case for reading Machiavelli as a radical democrat."Yves Winter, Department of Political Science, McGill University, and author of Machiavelli and the Orders of Violence