Isabell Lorey

Democracy in the Present Tense - A Theory of the Political Present

(German title: Demokratie im Präsens)
ca. 217 pages
Isabell Lorey

Isabell Lorey

Isabell Lorey is Professor of Queer Studies at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and works for the publication platform transversal texts of the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp).

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Amidst the crises and threats to liberal democracy, Isabell Lorey develops a democracy in the political present that bursts open political certainties as well as linear ideas about progress and growth.

With her queer-feminist political theory she formulates a fundamental criticism of masculinist conceptions of the people, representation, institution and multitude. And she develops an original concept of presentist democracy that is based on care and connectedness, on the irreducibility of responsibilities – and that is unthinkable without past struggles and current practices of social movement. When queer-feminist care practices and a black and queer understanding of debt are foregrounded, democracy emerges in present tense.

Democracy in the Present Tense is a radical intervention into the masculinist political theory of liberal democracy where bourgeois ideas of time are confronted with a new conception of the present. With reference to the political philosophy of thinkers such as Rousseau, Derrida, Benjamin, Foucault and Negri and practices of contemporary social movements a queer-feminist form of presentist democracy develops, which proceeds from care and connectedness.


»Democracy in the Present Tense […] is a veritable godsend.« Jens-Christian Rabe, Süddeutsche Zeitung