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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.

Open Access (free)
The Global Public and Its Problems
Author: John Narayan

This book argues that John Dewey should be read as a philosopher of globalization rather than as a 'local' American philosopher. Although Dewey's political philosophy was rooted in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America, it was more importantly about the role of America in a globalized world. The book highlights how Dewey's defence of democracy in the context of what he denotes as the Great Society leads him to confront the problems of globalization and global democracy. Then, it explores how Dewey's conception of creative democracy had global connotations. The book examines how Dewey problematized his own conception of democracy through arguing that the public within modern nation states was 'eclipsed' under the regime he called 'bourgeois democracy'. Then, it shifts the terrain of Dewey's global focus to ideas of global justice and equality. The book demonstrates that Dewey's idea of global democracy was linked with an idea of global equality, which would secure social intelligence on a global scale. It outlines the key Deweyan lessons about the problem of global democracy. The book shows how Dewey sets out an evolutionary form of global and national democracy in his work. Finally, it also outlines how Dewey believed liberal capitalism was unable to support social intelligence and needed replacing with a form of democratic socialism.

John Narayan

meaning of history was therefore always to be refracted through the perspectives and needs of the present. With that in mind, after journeying through the work of John Dewey and his views on global democracy, it seems that we come to a logical set of questions concerning the relationship between Dewey’s time and our own. How are we to use his work for our own purposes? How does Dewey’s work help us contemplate and theorize our present form of globalization? And how does Dewey’s work inform an analysis of post-Westphalian ideas of global democracy in the twenty

in John Dewey
A poststructuralist moral theory for the twenty-first century
Author: Mark Olssen

To understand how subjects are constructed socially and historically in terms of power, and how they act through power on others and on themselves, but not to see this as a purely random process or activity where ‘anything goes’, or conversely, portray ethical actions in terms of fixed universal rules or specified teleological ends, constitutes the objective of this book. What a normative Foucault can offer us, I claim, is a critical ethics of the present that is well and truly beyond Kant, Hegel. and Marx, and which can guide action and conduct for the twenty-first century.

Open Access (free)
Retrieving a ‘Global’ American Philosopher
John Narayan

remind readers that not everything can be said in the same breath and that it is necessary to stress first one aspect and then another of the general subject. So I hope that what is said will be taken as a whole and also in comparison and contrast with alternative methods of social action. (LW11: 4)1 It might seem rather bizarre to claim that a return to the work of John Dewey can offer a greater appreciation of globalization and global democracy at the start of the twenty-first century. Dewey appears to be a creature of a wholly different epoch; born in 1859, the year

in John Dewey
Open Access (free)
John Narayan

nature of the Great Society by showing how such a time period has today become known as the ‘First Great Globalization’. The second section focuses not only on how Dewey acknowledged the global dimensions of the Great Society but also on why he was compelled to propound the need for global democracy. The final part of the chapter outlines Dewey’s concrete ideas about what global democracy would look like in reality. 42 John Dewey The Great Society as the First Great Globalization Pragmatist scholars often fail to recognize that Dewey saw the Great Society as more

in John Dewey
John Narayan

anything like the energy – physical, intellectual, and moral – that now goes into planning war, to planning for an enduring peace system, they could achieve world government. To surrender to defeatism is for intelligence to abdicate. It is to give up the struggle in a cause in which nothing less than the destiny of civilization is at stake. It is, however, as necessary to appreciate the immense difficulty of the undertaking as it is to have the will to take unreserved part in it. (LW15: 206) In much the same vein as contemporary advocates of global democracy, Dewey

in John Dewey
Some questions for Rainer Bauböck
Joseph H. Carens

single account that both illuminates basic principles and provides practical guidance permit him to consider with an open mind all of the fundamental questions that can emerge from a concern for democratic inclusion? Global democracy Consider now something that Bauböck wants to exclude in the name of democratic inclusion: global democracy. He says explicitly at the end of section 2.1 that the ideas advanced in that section

in Democratic inclusion
Open Access (free)
Inheriting the Task of Creative Democracy
John Narayan

go by, we are a part, a social life that is changing with extreme rapidity from year to year. (LW13: 299) The creative task facing us today very much resembles Dewey’s time, in that we need to reformulate democracy in order to cope with the contours of a globalized world. Yes, some of the details may be different. However, when turning to modern issues that demand global democracy, such as climate change and global inequality, it becomes clear that the creative task facing us today is very much the same task that faced Dewey: the eradication of capital’s hegemonic

in John Dewey
Greta Fowler Snyder

they believe they should have a say. In protesting, individuals demand to be recognized as global citizens who should have a voice in world affairs. They perform their vote. Such citizens not only demonstrate the scope of the global progressive forces, they can actually bring global democracy into being , albeit in a partial and incomplete form – and only if the performance

in Recognition and Global Politics