Ordinary Democracy begins by observing how feelings of devitalized agency among citizens have grown as state crisis and emergency have become more commonplace. Devitalized agency reflects how much of daily life is now organized by forces beyond the control of the nation and its citizens and is experienced in terms of diminished powers of self-determination and sovereignty. The social movements profiled illuminate the uneven sacrifices citizens have had to make in order to preserve what remains of the nation’s sovereign powers. These movements seek to democratize sovereignty by challenging the hidden sacrifices at its center, by awakening desires for agency that remain intact despite de-democratizing conditions of political emergency and impasse. By cultivating subject-level desires for popular sovereignty and active citizenship, these movements aim to restore a tensional relationship between state prerogative and popular power that has been flattened by the exercise of unilateral state sovereignty under emergency conditions.
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