Politics, Institutions and Social Struggles: Beyond Pure Normativism and Strong Institutionalism in Political Theory


  • Leno Francisco Danner




Democracy, Normativism, Institutionalism, Social Classes, Social Struggles


In this article, I criticize the tendency in contemporary philosophical-political theory to affirm both pure normativism and strong institutionalism as the heart of democracy, denying a political core not only to social classes, but also to social struggles, which define the main social, cultural and political dynamics, institutionalized and non-institutionalized. The association between pure normativism and strong institutionalism leads, on the one hand, to the separation and opposition between normative foundations and social classes and social struggles, as well as, on the other hand, to the institutional monopolization both of political legitimation and social evolution, because institutions exclusively assume the guard, the legitimation and the public boosting of social normativism. Pure normativism and strong institutionalism, in other words, reduce politics to institutional and systemic politics, as they reduce political subjects to institutional legal staffs, as political parties and technical elites, attributing a peripheral role to social classes and social struggles, a peripheral role also to the politicity of social and institutional life. I argue that this harmful tendency of many philosophical-political theories, fundamentally in the spectrum of liberalism and social democracy, which suffer from a historical-sociological blindness, must be substituted with the affirmation of the centrality of social classes as the real political subjects of social evolution, as well as of the centrality of social struggles as the political-normative basis to the definition of institutional designs, social evolution and economic structures


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