Thorup, Mikkel: Rogue democracy – inclusion against exclusion.

The paper will present and discuss my work-in- progress on the contested development of democracy in an era moving steadily away from parliamentary rule towards what at present looks like ‘rule of the unelected’. The mechanisms of political inclusion and exclusion, whether of policy matters or subsets of citizens are in flux at the present. The last few decades has witnessed some quite profound exclusionary mechanisms, e.g. depoliticization of economic policies, and mounting feelings of exclusion and alienation among large citizen groups, as well as new attempts at inclusion. The paper will concentrate on what happens to democratic practice, and more specifically to ideas of democratic practice, once its traditional parliamentary framework withers away but the democratic ideal of inclusion and participation persists. The paper is a study in the history of contemporary thought, circling around the exclusion and inclusion processes coming from the dialectics of democratic representation, where, in the words of Mónica Brito Vieira & David Runciman, there is both “the presence that comes from being re-presented, and the absence that comes from needing to be re-presented.” I will argue that we are presently witnessing some rogue transformations of what democracy is and means, from above in form of a rule of unelected elites, unaccountable powers, surveillance from above, marketization and re-moralization as in illiberal democracies etc. as well as from below in the form of populism, conspiracy thinking, street politics, post-factual debates, horizontal practices, leaks and hacks in surveillance from below etc. The paper will attempt to situate all these phenomena within one framework of contemporary democratic experimentation from above and below.