Dec 3, 2021
Interviewer: RAFAEL KHACHATURIAN. For many on the Left, elections have come to represent a minimal baseline for political engagement – and not a route in themselves for personal or social transformation. In his work, democratic theorist KEVIN DUONG looks back to a time when this was not the case, when the movement for universal suffrage envisioned itself as giving voice to “the people” in a way that would leave to part of society unchanged. In his discussion with political theorist Rafael Khachaturian, he charts the impoverishment of our concept of popular politics, but also explores the vexed question of what it means for the people to gain a voice. He reveals that anti-colonial leaders and theorists often made creative use of the psychoanalytic tradition to help fashion a more flexible ideal of peoplehood. And he sees signs in recent years that the issue of voting access has once again become a way to mobilize around wider concerns about economic and social equality.