Oases in the Desert: Hannah Arendt on Democratic Politics
- ISSN: 00030554
- DOI: 10.2307/2944888
Hannah Arendt never wrote systematically on the subject of democracy. In her book of greatest relevance to the subject, On Revolution, she criticized liberal democracy, and defended a conception of virtuous political "elites," leading most commentators to view her as an opponent of democracy. I argue that Arendt defended a distinctive conception of grass-roots democracy, and that her conception of elites is distinctively democratic rather than anti-democratic. I bolster this argument by examining her historical context, and conclude by assessing the relevance of Arendt's conception of democracy.