Bridges, Walls, Doors : On Democracy and Nature

Abstract: The concept of green democracy has been advanced in green political theory as a way to include the natural world in the political and, by that, overcome an alleged wall, a fundamental disunity, separating humans and nature in modernity and substitute it with a unity of identity that would bridge the gap between them. It has also been vested with the coupled power to transform society in a sustainable direction. This study argues that green democracy disqualifies the concept of democracy it adopts and that, instead of bringing humans and nature together in a unity of identity, it reproduces a relation between them according to which they form a unity of difference, a relation where they are connected as if being the inside and outside of a door. Through a historical analysis of medieval, early modern, and modern modes of Western thought, it is shown that modernity does not wall humans off from nature but instead relates them in such a unity of difference and that this particular relation is fundamental for the modern concept of democracy in general, which is shown to have the same meaning as democracy has in the concept of green democracy. A tendency within the modern concept of democracy to disqualify itself is also delineated. The analysis suggests that the conceptualisation of green democracy in green political theory reproduces a unity of difference between humans and nature because it adopts a modern concept of democracy presupposing such a relation, and that it disqualifies its own concept of democracy because modern democracy tends to disqualify itself. Also, this tendency, it is argued, is exacerbated in green democracy.