If being a citizen means participating as an individual within a wider political community that confers certain duties and entitlements, such as the rights to speak freely, vote or to own property, then the whole subject of citizenship needs a radical overhaul, in line with new developments and new challenges of our times….
Several decades ago, the two-volume Democracy and Civil Society and Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives (1988) made an appeal for reclaiming the old category of civil society and placing it at the heart of the contemporary human sciences. First revived in Japan during the 1960s, the term civil society featured prominently in the
Since 1945, the language and institutions of democracy have taken root in so many different geographic contexts that more than a few presuppositions of democratic theory have been invalidated. As democracy spread through the world, the world has made its mark on democracy, even though the metamorphosis remains largely unregistered in the Atlantic-centred literature on democracy….
In matters of democracy, ignorance about the past breeds misunderstandings of the present, sometimes with damaging effects on visions of what democracy might become in the future. What is needed is sharpened awareness of the historicity of its spirit, language and institutions, not for antiquarian reasons, but for the purpose of heightening our awareness that democracy
Just as in the 16th century, when the production of printed books and the efforts to read codex type required a fundamental shift of political perspective, so today, in the emergent world of communicative abundance, a whole new mental effort is required to make sense of how democracies are being shaped and re-shaped by the new tools and rhetoric of communication, and to see why our very thinking about democracy must also change….
Religious experience, once described by William James as
The old Hobbesian presumption that war, violence and fear are intrinsically part of
It is not generally appreciated that contemporary arguments for democracy are still infused with old prejudices that make little or no sense in the 21st century. Examples include the belief that democracy is a God-given ideal, or that it is intrinsically peaceful, or that it excels at fostering economic growth. Against these untenable prejudices, a new case can be made for democratising our thinking about what