Bonnie Honig

Bonnie Honig

Bonnie Honig is a political and legal theorist specialized in democratic and feminist theory. She is Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and Senior Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. She received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Honig is most well-known in political theory for her advocacy of a contestatory conception of democratic politics, also known as agonism. In her book "Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics" (Cornell, 1993, awarded the 1994 Foundations of Political Thought Book Prize for best first book in political theory [ [ American Political Science Association] ] ), she develops this notion through critiques of consensual conceptions of democracy. Arguing that every political settlement engenders remainders to which it cannot fully do justice, she draws on Nietzsche and Arendt, among others, to bring out the emancipatory potential of political contestation and of the disruption of settled practices. Recognizing, on the other hand, that politics involves the imposition of order and stability, she argues that politics can neither be reduced to consensus, nor to pure contestation, but that these are both essential aspects of politics.

Her second book, "Democracy and the Foreigner" (Princeton University Press, 2001), aims to illuminate the underestimated role of foreignness in democratic politics, particularly in the (re)founding of democratic communities. In doing so, she aims to shift the question from how to deal with foreigners to “What problems does foreignness solve for us?” This strategy of subverting binary oppositions (such as contestation vs. consensus, foreignness vs. familiarity, decision vs. deliberation, and in her forthcoming book "Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law and Democracy" (Princeton University Press, 2009), normality vs. exception) by shifting the question of a well-known debate in order to obtain a new and revealing perspective, recurs throughout her work and the insights that result constitute her distinctive contributions to political theory.

Selected bibliography


* "Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics" (Cornell, 1993)
* "Democracy and the Foreigner" (Princeton University Press, 2001)
* "Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law and Democracy" (Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2009)

(Co-)Edited books

* "Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt" (Penn State, 1995)
* "Skepticism, Individuality and Freedom: The Reluctant Liberalism of Richard Flathman" (Minnesota, 2002)
* "Oxford Handbook of Political Thought" (Oxford, 2006)

Selected articles

* "Declarations of Independence: Arendt and Derrida on the Problem of Founding a Republic", "American Political Science Review", 1991
* "Between Decision and Deliberation: Political Paradox in Democratic Theory", "American Political Science Review", 2007
* "Antigone's Lament, Creon's Grief: Mourning, Membership and the Politics of Exception", "Political Theory", 2009 (forthcoming)

See also

* [ Northwestern University Faculty Page]
* [ American Bar Foundation Faculty Page]


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