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….
Vibrant democracies need sharp-angled and unceremonious characters like Lou Reed who can rail against imperiousness and conformity, writes John Keane. It’s said often that democracy requires shared public virtues such as respect for others and belief in free and fair elections, as well as the ability of citizens to live with differences and have a [...]
‘No bourgeois, no democracy’ is the racy formulation penned half a century ago by the American historian Barrington Moore Jr. It’s a well-known political maxim, one that’s often used in support of the view that to be middle class is to be solidly, instinctively on the side of parliamentary democracy. But what happens if a middle [...]
This talk aims to provoke discussion about the long-term, ‘deep’ effects of green politics on the language and institutions and ‘imaginary’ of democracy. Some of these effects are more obvious than others, he points out. In half a generation, green-minded intellectuals, movements and political parties have helped ensure that such matters as chemical pollutants, nuclear [...]
The following reflection on the subject of banks and democracy has been prepared for a forthcoming OECD meeting in Paris, in late-May 2013. The text is long, stretching the definition of a field note on present-day democracy. But such matters are sadly neglected by contemporary theorists and analysts of democracy. Comments are most welcome.
Everybody warned this would be no ordinary invitation, and they were right. Three hundred metres from Knightsbridge underground station, just a stone’s throw from fashion-conscious Harrods, I suddenly encounter a wall of police. I try to remember my instructions. Look straight ahead. Avoid eye contact. If asked my name, reply with a question. Ask who [...]
You said in your recent public speech in Castellon that we’re now living in the age of mega-projects. What exactly did you mean by this? In Europe as elsewhere, we’ve entered times marked by big-footprint projects, organised efforts to do things never before attempted, adventures of power that touch and transform the lives of millions [...]
New Reasons Why Politics Matters in the Early Years of the Twenty-first Century. Bernard Crick was revered and respected for his writing against anti-politics and his dislike of intellectual timidity. So he might well have found the following risqué observation both politically relevant and intellectually satisfying. Look around: we’re living in an age marked by [...]
Rethinking the history of the impact of representative democracy upon Indigenous peoples. Although the first Australian association of self-declared democrats was formed in Sydney only in 1848, the year of revolutions in Europe, the political tides flowing in their favour were anticipated several decades earlier in a short but salient letter by the former President [...]
The internationally renowned democracy expert, Professor John Keane, joined a special Sydney Writers’ Festival panel discussion on Thursday 17 May in the University of Sydney’s Great Hall on the future of the Occupy movement.