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Right/left in the context of new political frontiers : What’s radical politics today?

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The modern political distinction between right and left has functioned as the symbolic structuring of democratic politics. The significance of this political code lies in the institutionalisation of political discourse as relatively autonomous in relation to cultural and religious discourses in which right as a general rule has been conceived as positive and left as negative. Modern political revolutions marked the transformation of RIGHT/LEFT from a cultural and religious codex of domination/subordination to a political one of parity, which cleared a space for the legitimacy of opposition and disagreement as well as for public reason and the balancing of judgement. RIGHT/LEFT is thus associated with a political symbolic order that underpins the autonomy of democratic politics by signifying the distinction between parties of equal political status.
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Keywords: Bobbio; Mouffe; democratic politics; discourses of the far right; front/back; in/out; orientational metaphors: right/left; political orientation and identification; up/down

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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