Degree Type

Honors Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Degree Name

Honors in the Major

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Buchwalter

Second Advisor

Dr. Erinn Gilson

Third Advisor

Dr. Hans Herbert Koegler


In this paper, I argue that intentional and active participation in public life made possible by a participatory democracy is perhaps the most potent tool for resistance. This is because increased participation, even in a flawed system such as democracy, can undo previous conventions of the ‘normal’ and re-establish less oppressive institutions and an even better and more inclusive democracy. Through an emphasis on the participation of ‘othered’ groups, democracy-- which at a point served as the source of oppression for these groups by ensuring their exclusion from it-- can become a potent tool for change. The participatory democracy approach, compared to other resistance approaches taken on by theorists like Bartky and West, recognizes the reinforcing relationship between oppressive norms and public institutions, and the citizen’s role in halting the oppressive cycle by actively participating in all aspects of public life. While this approach does not solve the problem, Foucault presents in its entirety, it is a pragmatic solution to curb the oppression of specific groups within society by offering the alternative of a continuously self-improving system. To emphasize the relevance of this discussion, I will begin by describing modern applications of Foucault’s juridical power in society.