Most democratic theories recognize that democracy requires widespread adherence to both formal and informal norms that constrain the use of power and structure relationships among citizens. Most also recognize that a healthy democracy requires some forms of activism or resistance that transgress those norms to disrupt hierarchies, challenge injustices, and drive discursive innovation. Recent systemic theories of democracy show that democratic theory can incorporate these two realities without contradiction, but it is not clear whether an ethic of citizenship can do the same. This article reviews recent literature on the purposes and ethics of transgressive politics while also drawing attention to neglected questions about the functions of democratic norms and how they are maintained amid transgressions. These are questions that must be addressed by an ethic of citizenship that can navigate the tension between the authority of democratic norms and the constructive potential of transgressive politics.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 27 is June 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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