This chapter introduces in a preliminary way the main features of a theory of plebiscitary democracy whose elaboration and defense will be the purpose of the succeeding chapters. Section 1.2 argues that, in spite of both moral and intellectual suspicion of spectatorship as a legitimate topic of political study, it is after all possible to pursue democracy from the perspective of the political spectator: that there is such a thing as an ocular model of popular empowerment, and that it is precisely plebiscitary democracy's embrace of this model that makes it an important alternative within political thought. Further, not only is an ocular model of popular empowerment possible, but its pursuit would lead to a meaningfully different account of the types of public goods at stake in the quest for a more democratic society. Plebiscitary democracy is not merely an alternate interpretation of familiar democratic processes, but represents a novel ethical paradigm that would reshape the way the moral meaning of democracy is approached and pursued. Sections 1.3 to 1.6 review the specific intellectual, aesthetic, egalitarian, and solidaristic values that would be realized by a theory of plebiscitary democracy and its ocular paradigm of popular empowerment. Section 1.7 concludes by detailing the overall plan for the book's remaining chapters.
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