Democracy  &  Nature, Vol. 9, No. 2


The Democratic Chorus: Culture, Dialogue and Polyphony

Damon A. Young


Abstract: Sensible dialogue is essential to any healthy democracy.  Dialogue, in turn, requires some grasp of the traditions within which it occurs.  However, late capitalism is characterised by the systematic corruption of cultural traditions by mechanism and atomism.  While the tradition of capitalism remains, our capacity to recognise and creatively overcome it is corrupted.  As an alternative to this, we require a bold vision of healthy cultural life.  This paper argues that such a vision can be found in the Chorus of Classical Greek tragedy.  Grounded in narrative theory and the work of Bakhtin and Bourdieu, this account of the Chorus gives an alternative to the superficiality of late modernity.  It is a vision of democratic citizens doing justice to themselves and one another through narrative paideia.