Cover image for Democracy as Fetish By Ralph Cintron

Democracy as Fetish

Ralph Cintron

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$99.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08485-5

$34.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08486-2

248 pages
6" × 9"
2 b&w illustrations
2020

RSA Series in Transdisciplinary Rhetoric

Democracy as Fetish

Ralph Cintron

Democracy as Fetish is necessary reading for today. Cintron demonstrates democracy’s fetishization in contemporary theorizing and guides readers through a new framework with the radical potential to explain the political maelström we live in. Cintron wildly blends fieldwork, theory, and textual analysis, constructing what reads like lively dialogue between conversationalists who are excited and invested and who care. Democracy as Fetish will stick with you long after you finish the final pages. Its ideas will return to you in random moments, you will mention it in conversation, and you will recommend it many times over to colleagues and acquaintances.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Democracy has long been fetishized. Consequently, how we speak about democracy and what we expect from democratic governance are at odds with practice. With unflinching resolve, this book probes the theory of democracy and how the left and right are fascinated by it.

In this innovative multidisciplinary study, Ralph Cintron provides sustained analysis of our political discourse. He shows not only how the rhetoric of democracy produces strong desires for social order, global wealth, and justice but also how these desires cannot be satisfied. Throughout his discussion, Cintron includes ethnographic research from fieldwork conducted over the course of twenty years in the Latino neighborhoods of Chicago, where he observes both citizens and the undocumented looking to democracy to fulfill their highest aspirations. Politicians hand out favors to the elite, developers strong-arm aldermen, and the disenfranchised have little redress. The problem, Cintron argues, is that the conditions required to put democracy into practice—territory, a bordered nation-state, citizens, property—are constituted by inequality and violence, because there is no inclusivity that does not also exclude.

Drawing on ethnography, economics, political theory, and rhetorical analysis, Cintron makes his case with tremendous analytic rigor. This challenge to reassess the discourses on democracy and to consider democratic politics as always compromised by oligarchy will be of particular interest to political and rhetorical theorists.

Democracy as Fetish is necessary reading for today. Cintron demonstrates democracy’s fetishization in contemporary theorizing and guides readers through a new framework with the radical potential to explain the political maelström we live in. Cintron wildly blends fieldwork, theory, and textual analysis, constructing what reads like lively dialogue between conversationalists who are excited and invested and who care. Democracy as Fetish will stick with you long after you finish the final pages. Its ideas will return to you in random moments, you will mention it in conversation, and you will recommend it many times over to colleagues and acquaintances.”

Ralph Cintron is Associate Professor of English and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Angels’ Town: Chero Ways, Gang Life, and the Rhetorics of the Everyday and coeditor of Culture, Catastrophe, and Rhetoric: The Texture of Political Action.

Contents

1 Putting a Text into Motion

2 Democracy Is . . . ?

3 The Undocumented Among Us

4 Property and Its Entanglements

5 Closings/Openings

Notes

Index