The Democratic Ethos: Authenticity and Instrumentalism in US Movement Rhetoric After Occupy, A. Freya Thimsen

Reviewed by Callum Ingram

In light of the recent turns toward organizing and prefiguration in political theory, this is a particularly fruitful moment to reconsider the Occupy movement; indeed, these recent turns may be a form of collective reckoning with Occupy. After all, it was the same seemingly unorganized, Bartleby-adjacent “no” of Occupy that granted it both its distinct promise and haunting threat of futility. And it was Occupy's desire to model justice on the level of the encampment that made it both a global inspiration and a challenge to scale up. The Occupy movement had to get the goods, but we still seem unsure of what the goods were and how they might get gotten.

A. Freya Thimsen's book enriches our understanding of both what Occupy was and what it accomplished. Responding to premature dismissals of Occupy by many “left-leaning progressive and liberal intellectuals,” Thimsen argues we can now take advantage of a “longer view” in order to appreciate how “the democratic ethos consolidated and disseminated by the Occupy demonstrations” reshaped subsequent movements (1–2). Occupy's accomplishments ought not just be measured in terms of policy changes but also in how subsequent democratic movements must “walk the walk” by demonstrating a performative consistency between their stated goals and

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


America at a Crossroads: The 2024 Presidential Election and Its Global Impact
April 24, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
New York, NY


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS