Mark Purcell


My work explores the possibility and potential of democracy. I am interested in how democracy can be an idea that inspires resistance to neoliberalism and austerity, but, more than that, I am interested in how it can help us flee those forms of life, how we can use it to create different forms, new ways of being together, other communities in which people make decisions for themselves, collectively. In short, I am searching for ways to think democracy radically. In that project, I spend a lot of time with and draw lots of ideas from the work of Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Bakunin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Hardt & Negri, Lefebvre, Castoriadis, Ranciere, Virno, and Laclau & Mouffe. I also dabble in some Arendt, Agamben, Abensour, Badiou, Nancy, Rosanvallon, Clastres, Foucault, and Debord. My plan is to engage more closely in the near future with Butler, Bifo, and (maybe) Dewey. (Then I’ll retire.)

I am particularly interested in democracy as it exists in cities. I want to know more about how urban inhabitants are creating new forms of urban life, forms of life in which they manage the production of urban space themselves, without the State and without capitalist corporations. In this context, I work particularly closely with Henri Lefebvre, and especially with his ideas of urban society, autogestion, and the right to the city.

If any of this resonates with your project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!