Arendtian Sardines. A failed attempt at participatory democracy


  • Gabriele Parrino



Starting from a phenomenological description of the unprecedented Italian movement of the 6000Sardines as presented by Adriana Cavarero in her surgive paradigm, the aim of my paper is to target the lack of constituency and permanence that makes democracy fragile when based only on the spontaneous dimension of a collective and grass-root uprising. Taking seriously the Arendtian challenge to ground a new body politic on the paradoxical nature of action, participatory democracy is here presented as an irresolvable tension between the dynamic and potentially limitless power of plurality and the internal bonds that any founding act presupposes. A duality that represents the circular nature of politics between power and authority and, thanks to Arendt’s remarks on Roman auctoritas, provides us with the coordinates for a democratic political institution that does not suppress freedom, but also never allows action to run out in an endless anarchic process.




Parrino, G. (2024). Arendtian Sardines. A failed attempt at participatory democracy. HannahArendt.Net, 13(1), 62–81.