Hannah Arendt Center Conferences
[Compromise and Representation: A Lecture by Associate Fellow Shany Mor]

Compromise and Representation: A Lecture by Associate Fellow Shany Mor

Monday, November 6, 2017 Arendt Center
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
This event occurs on:  Mon. November 6, 5 pm – 6 pm

My paper argues that representation is best understood, both normatively and historically, as emerging from legal positivism and the rule of law rather than from democracy as such.  I propose a formal definition of decision, and then abstract from that to choice, habit, rule, norm, and law.  When I focus only on authorized political decisions, I find that administrative, executive, bureaucratic, judicial, military, police, etc. decisions all have more in common with each other than any one of them has with law creation.  
I further identify the four properties of law creation that make it so different and prove that on purely definitional grounds, such a decision cannot be made by a very small or very large number.  I derive from this a definition of assembly and make the case for law-making by assembly with some formal connection to popular preference.  
All this is ultimately tied to a more general statement on plurality as the fundamental condition of politics, and to a call for a renewed theoretical emphasis on parliamentarism as opposed to all its inadequate replacements (executive overreach, judicial activism, media-driven audience democracy, referendums, etc.).
In this sense, representation by assembly, with its output as general norms and its input a series of ritualized speech acts and circumscribed forms of public decision-making, create ongoing temporary compromises and long-term habits of compromise that secure popular sovereignty in a way that referendum democracy, “digital democracy,” entrenched rights enforced by courts, and populist executives cannot.

Date: Monday, November 6th
Location: Hannah Arendt Center
Time: 5pm - 6pm

Rsvp Required: Email arendt@bard.edu
Free & Open to the Public