Political Participation as Impartial Commitment in the Work of Hannah Arendt

Jana Vargovčíková

Hannah Arendt’s stress on civic participation stands in contrast with the absence of her work in the writing on deliberative democracy, which otherwise shares many of her normative assumptions. A comparison of the ways in which Arendt and deliberative democrats conceive of participation helps us explain this absence by pointing to the strongly dichotomist structure of Arendt’s conception of participation. Normative dichotomies (interest/opinion, the social/the political), then, lead Arendt to advocate what we call participation as „disinterested engagement“.