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Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd

Here we examine the expression ‘democracy’, and try to disentangle its value as an objective term of analysis and its misuse as a tool of propaganda. The focus is on ‘liberal democracy’. First the various dimensions of democracy and the notion of democracy are considered, and the idea of democracy as ‘the sovereign people’ governed by consent is closely examined. Then the issue

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Abstract only
Saul Newman

5 Democracy I N T H E P R E C E D I N G chapter I tried to construct a radical understanding of ethics, founding it not on some pre-given notion of the good or a rational consensus, but rather on the singularity of an event which disrupts this consensus. Furthermore, I suggested that ethics must contain an anti-authoritarian dimension which situates itself in opposition to established political institutions and practices. Ethics, in other words, is what opens political institutions to the other that they exclude, revealing the undecidability of their own

in Unstable universalities
Open Access (free)
David Owen

Introduction The concept of democracy is central to our contemporary political vocabularies, yet agreement on how to conceptualise democracy is far from widespread. 1 As Adam Przeworski has recently remarked: ‘Perusing innumerable definitions, one discovers that democracy has become an altar on which everyone hangs his or her favorite ex voto .’ 2 Certainly we can say that

in Political concepts
Tony Wright

12 Democracy and social democracy Tony Wright One of the enduring themes in David Marquand’s work is on the ‘democracy’ bit of social democracy; and that is the theme explored here. This means saying something about how the social democratic tradition has viewed democracy, in Britain in particular, and where matters stand now. It may then be possible to offer some suggestions for the future, both in terms of thought and action. Origins and ideas It was the aim of social democrats to put the ‘social’ into democracy. If equality and citizenship were good enough

in Making social democrats
Power, legitimacy and the interpretation of democratic ideas

As the globalization of democracy becomes increasingly palpable, the political obstacles to its achievement become overshadowed by more vexing questions concerning the very nature of democracy itself. This book examines some of the philosophical and theoretical debates underlying the 'democratic project' which increasingly dominates the field of comparative development. The first concern presented is normative and epistemological: as democracy becomes widely accepted as the political currency of legitimacy, the more broadly it is defined. The second issue examined refers to the claims being made regarding how best to secure a democratic system in developing states. The book shows how 'democracy' has quickly become, both academically and politically, all things to all people: it represents a philosophical ideal, a political strategy, and an instrument of economic well-being. It looks at some of the philosophical debates underlying democracy in order to explain why it has evolved into such an ambiguous concept. The book surveys the arguments supporting the expansion of 'democracy' from its individualistic orientations to an account more able to accommodate the concerns and aspirations of groups. Critical assessments of these new trends in democratic theory are presented. The book examines the political contexts within which debates about democratization are centred. A discussion on the claim that a robust democracy depends upon our ability to 'strengthen civil society', follows. The book situates the debate over democracy and development more closely by examining the political context surrounding the inflation of democratic meaning. It examines the consequences of the globalization of democratic norms.

Katherine Fierlbeck

) The romanticization of democracy It is possible that the reason democracy is so resonant today is because it speaks to our desire for justice. This idea of ‘justice’ is, of course, unapologetically contemporary, and has its origins in early modern accounts which grounded political legitimacy upon consent. Why, for us, is a political regime ‘just’? Not because it conforms to

in Globalizing democracy
Abstract only
Katherine Fierlbeck

meaningfulness Proponents of ‘globalization’ have observed, no doubt with some satisfaction, that there is an increasing consensus across (and within) states that ‘democracy’ is the correct standard upon which to judge the political legitimacy of states. But this contentment must, upon reflection, be considerably lessened by the realization that the consensus on what, precisely, is

in Globalizing democracy
Renovation or resignation?

This book makes an important contribution to the existing literature on European social democracy in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and ensuing recession. It considers ways in which European social democratic parties at both the national and European level have responded to the global economic crisis (GEC). The book also considers the extent to which the authors might envisage alternatives to the neo-liberal consensus being successfully promoted by those parties within the European Union (EU). The book first explores some of the broader thematic issues underpinning questions of the political economy of social democracy during the GEC. Then, it addresses some of the social democratic party responses that have been witnessed at the level of the nation state across Europe. The book focuses in particular on some of the countries with the longest tradition of social democratic and centre-left party politics, and therefore focuses on western and southern Europe. In contrast to the proclaimed social democratic (and especially Party of European Socialists) ambitions, the outcomes witnessed at the EU level have been less promising for those seeking a supranational re-social democratization. In order to understand the EU-level response of social democratic party actors to the Great Recession, the book situates social democratic parties historically. In the case of the British Labour Party, it also identifies the absence of ideological alternatives to the 'there is no alternative' (TINA)-logic that prevailed under the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Thomas Prosser

national hatred, insatiable greed and vindictive envy. (Leszek Kołakowski) 1 Having evaluated four worldviews, one remains: social democracy. This position seeks compromise between capitalism and socialism, advocating democratic collective action to achieve political and economic freedoms. In the second half of the nineteenth century, pioneers such as Eduard Bernstein rejected efforts to overthrow capitalism by revolution, arguing for a gradualist approach. 2 Following the end of the Second World War, social-democratic parties assumed power in European countries

in What’s in it for me?
International perceptions
Francesco Cavatorta

6 Islamism and democracy: international perceptions The international dimension of the failed Algerian process of democratisation is an important part of the story because it not only contributes to explain such failure, but also because it indirectly addresses very important contemporary issues about the prospects of democracy in the Arab world. From the previous analysis, it emerges that it is around the emergence of the FIS as the largest opposition movement in Algeria that the whole transition turned. It is largely the rise of the Islamist movement that

in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition