Congratulations to Desirrea Meney on successfully completing her MA thesis. Her thesis project, entitled “Examining the Conflictual Political: Alternative Agonisms for Democratic Designs”, approaches democratic theory with the understanding that the field struggles to understand the conflictual quality of the democratic experience. It says that agonist literature has better achieved this recognition, founding democracy on a political dimension that is irreducibly conflictual. Yet, she thinks that the study of agonist thinkers has often excluded much of the diversity in agonistic thought. Further, widely-accepted models such as deliberative democracy have ignored conflict, pointing the field towards unity and peace by rational deliberation. Therefore, her thesis reapproaches agonist literature, presenting three cases of ‘alternative agonists’, to examine what the agonistic tradition still can offer to the perils of democracy. Her thesis contributes to the discourse on democratic conflict by engaging with Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and Claude Lefort who each offer a definition of the political that rests in conflict. Her thesis argues that a comparative analysis of their writings reveals unique meanings of the ‘conflictual political’ that impact the way we think and do democracy and offers potentials for understanding the fundamental meaning of democracy.
After successfully defending her thesis, Desirrea has begun PhD studies at Carleton University’s Political Science Department. She plans to continue her focus on agonist literature.