Political philosophy has traditionally been concerned with the question of democratic legitimacy – the process by which the people confer the right to govern onto political representatives. But with the rise of protest politics on the left and right alike, the people often seem more interested in constraining power than they are in giving politicians a clear mandate. According to French political philosopher Pierre Rosanvallon, these are all signals that we are now living in an age of negative sovereignty, in which broad-based coalitions can effectively block legislation and deselect governments at elections, while being increasingly incapable of garnering widespread support for necessary reforms. Is this a permanent shift in the nature of democratic politics? Is democratic populism a possible cure, or a symptom of the deeper malaise
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