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Matthew Flinders, Matthew Wood and Jack Corbett

This chapter offers a critical analysis of current research on anti-politics and links to forms of democratic innovation. We find that ‘anti-politics’ remains a ‘contested’ concept, which to some extent reflects a lack of analytical depth and thinking within the field. We define ‘anti-politics’ as a set of complex and paradoxical sentiments that reject the very basis of liberal representative democratic culture, as it currently functions. We argue anti-politics provides a more significant challenge to democracy than is commonly acknowledged. We develop a fourfold framework that maps onto existing research and dissects specific forms of anti-politics. We show how particular forms of anti-politics challenge basic democratic ‘goods’ supposedly assured by innovative forms of democratic governance. We conclude that without careful consideration, democratic innovations may be little more than cosmetic, tokenistic responses and ultimately prove counter-productive to a far deeper socio-political challenge.