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The Performance of PoliticsObama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744466.001.0001

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Civil Sphere and Public Drama

Civil Sphere and Public Drama

(p.7) Chapter One Civil Sphere and Public Drama
The Performance of Politics


Oxford University Press

Political campaigns are centralized battles run by generals, organized by captains, energized by foot soldiers, and disciplined, if possible, in the extreme. In order to gain power in democracy and society, one must win the formal consent of one's fellow citizens. It is these members of the democratic public—the “civil sphere”—who call the shots. As societies became larger, more complex, and more inclusive, this asking gradually took the form of an extended campaign. The struggle for power is democratic insofar as power becomes a privilege that must be campaigned for. One asks the members of the civil sphere to become their representative. In the course of political campaigns, those struggling for power are subject to a terrible scrutiny. This is critical because, once power is achieved, it gains significant independence from civil society.

Keywords:   political campaigns, power, democracy, society, consent, citizens, public, civil sphere, independence

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