The (ontological) politics in depoliticisation debates: three lenses on the decline of the political

Beveridge, R. (2017) The (ontological) politics in depoliticisation debates: three lenses on the decline of the political. Political Studies Review, 15(4), pp. 589-600. (doi: 10.1177/1478929916664358)

120411.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



The argument that representative democracies are experiencing an age of depoliticisation has become increasingly prominent. However, there has been too little reflection on the assumptions made about politics within the depoliticisation literature. This has led to a lack of precision in terms of how we identify (de)politicisation empirically and the grounds upon which we can normatively critique it. To address this, the article changes the terms of the depoliticisation debate and asks not what we can learn about politics by thinking more about depoliticisation, but what we can learn about depoliticisation if we think more about politics. How politics is defined, in spatial, temporal and activity terms, hugely influences how we might understand depoliticisation. Three prominent and contrasting definitions of politics are shown: politics as the institutions of government (politics lens 1), politics as choice and contingency (politics lens 2) and politics as the apparatus of order and consensus versus ‘political’ moments of antagonism (politics lens 3). By considering these ontologies of politics, the article teases out some of their strengths and weaknesses in capturing the depoliticisation ‘crisis’. The article concludes by considering the benefits of a multi-lens approach to depoliticisation as a preliminary step to encourage greater reflexivity and debate.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Beveridge, Dr Ross
Authors: Beveridge, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Political Studies Review
ISSN (Online):1478-9302
Published Online:18 January 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Author
First Published:First published in Political Studies Review 15(4):589-600
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record