Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Political Science

First Advisor

Anne Norton

Abstract

This study examines democratic frustration as a defining experience of ordinary citizens, exploring how ordinary citizens should properly understand their democratic aspirations as being the source of both inspiration and frustration, and how a more robust citizenship can take shape in three distinct dimensions of democracy—communicative, symbolic, and temporal. Examining democratic communication as a site of frustration that invites a moral-psychological analysis of how to foster a better attitudinal strategy, Chapter two proposes a theory of magnanimity with which we can harness the motivational power of superiority while making the very power more compatible with and conducive to a sound and vibrant democratic politics. Focusing on the symbolic dimension of democracy, which involves the politics of the people, Chapter three offers a theory of the sublime people as an interpretive tool that highlights both the need of individual citizens to invite and invoke the people and the importance of holding up against the tendency of endangering themselves to lapse into uncritical passivity and the idolatry of the claimed people. Chapter four warns against the popular trend of placing overemphasis on relatively short-lived extraordinary moments in our democratic experience, and proffers an alternative view of time as a journey, showing how each individual can grow more attached to reality while becoming more attentive, inventive, and persevering.

Embargoed

Available to all on Saturday, September 11, 2021

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