A democratic people’s dissent from war

Robert L. Ivie, Oscar Giner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Democracy’s capacity for peace is more fully realised in dissent, understood as an exercise in what Ernesto Laclau called popular reason grounded in rhetorical contingency to advance an ensemble of claims against ruling elites. In the case of antiwar dissent, popular reason involves linking the problem of war to other social exigencies such as economic displacement, environmental degradation and racial discrimination. Heterogeneous claims such as these are connected through a metaphorical vision, a mythical fullness sufficiently provisional to allow for deliberation with adversaries. Such linking metaphors must convey a sense of human interdependence to create a synergic ensemble of popular demands for transforming military and structural violence. Consistent with this sensibility, the very manner of dissenting is crucial. Dissenters can manoeuvre obliquely to articulate interdependencies in gestures of non-conforming solidarity, which can be facilitated by adopting a self-reflective, stereoscopic gaze towards antagonists and representing differences as complementary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Antiwar dissent
  • Interdependence
  • Linking metaphors
  • Popular democracy
  • Rhetorical contingency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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