Rousseau and Radical Democracy presents the first comprehensive examination of Rousseau’s founding role in, and continuing relevance for, recent and influential theories of democracy. Kevin Inston demonstrates the actuality of Rousseau’s thinking through an analysis of his deep connection with the groundbreaking work of contemporary European thinkers, including Lefort, Laclau and Mouffe. The book affirms Rousseau’s centrality for current debates in democratic thought by showing how, contrary to common assumptions, his writings emphasise the openness and difference necessary for a dynamic mode of democracy committed to extending the principles of freedom and equality. By connecting Rousseau’s philosophy with present-day thinking, Inston stresses the theoretical consistency of his political thought against those influential deconstructive readings of his work by thinkers such as Derrida and De Man. This book argues that the ambiguities and tensions in Rousseau actually form part of the logic of Rousseau’s rigorous reflection on democracy that accepts the inherent incompleteness and uncertainty of any political project as the condition of freedom and change.