notes
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​—​

introduction
1.​See​The Turn to Ethics,​ed.​Garber,​Hanssen,​and​Walkowitz.​Leading​examples​
of​this​development​include​Anderson,​The Way We Argue Now;​Bennett,​The En-
chantment of Modern Life​and​Vibrant Matter;​Butler,​Giving an Account of Oneself​
and​Precarious Life;​Coles,​Rethinking Generosity;​Connolly,​Why I Am Not a Secular-
ist,​Pluralism,​and​A World of Becoming;​Critchley,​The Ethics of Deconstruction​and​
Infinitely Demanding;​Orlie,​Living Ethically, Acting Politically;​White,​The Ethos of a
Late Modern Citizen;​and​Ziarek,​An Ethics of Dissensus.
2.​William​Connolly​frequently​refers​to​ethics​as​being​indispensable​to​democracy.​
See,​for​example,​Why I Am Not a Secularist,​13,​170,​187.
3.​For​example,​many​media​representations​of​the​Occupy​Wall​Street​(ows)​move-
ment​in​late​2011​emphasized​its​enactment​of​an​ethos,​alternately​identified​as​
nonviolent​(nPr),​leaderless​(Huffington​Post),​do-​it-​yourself​(Jewish​Week),​and​
no-​demands​(Salon.com)​in​character.​Supporters​often​depicted​this​ethos​as​a​
valuable​resource​for​reinvigorating​American​democracy.​For​more​theoretical​
reflections​on​ows’s​ethos,​see​Wendy​Brown​on​its​“populist​ethos”​in​“Occupy​
Wall​Street:​Return​of​a​Repressed​Res-Publica”​and​Richard​Grusin​on​the​move-
ment’s​ fostering​ of​ a​ “revolutionary​ counter-​mood”​ in​ “Premediation​ and​ the​
Virtual​Occupation​of​Wall​Street.”​But​see​also​George​Shulman,​“Interpreting​
Occupy,”​which​argues​that​academics​have​mostly​interpreted​ows​in​ways​that​
validate​“our​own​preferred​frameworks​of​analysis.”​Shulman’s​question,​“Must​
any​effort​to​understand​ows​make​it​evidence​to​confirm​what​we​already​(want​
to)​believe?”​could​easily​be​raised​in​relation​to​the​ethos​many​have​attributed​
to​the​movement.
4.​One​might​object​that​what​is​lacking​in​the​U.S.​polity​is​not​the​requisite​spirit​
but​the​institutional​arrangements​that​ensure​the​exercise​of​genuinely​demo-
cratic​power.​The​influence​of​corporations​on​U.S.​elections,​expanded​by​Citizens
United v. Federal Election Committee​(2010),​might,​for​example,​support​the​claim​
that​citizens​act​rationally​when​they​decline​to​participate​in​democratic​poli-
tics.​Lacking​effective​sites​of​democratic​decision​making,​citizens​may​simply​
opt​out.​Yet​it​is​insufficient​to​insist​that​structural​reform,​rather​than​ethos,​is​
the​real​issue.​This​is​so​not​only​because​of​the​old​but​apt​Rousseauvian​insight​
regarding​the​circular​relationship​between​a​society’s​spirit​and​its​institutions.​
More​pointedly​still,​the​institutional​problems​that​might​explain​citizen​dis-
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