Annabel Brett, Fabian Steininger, Tobias Adler-Bartels, Juan Pablo Scarfi, and Jan Surman
Tolerating the Conditionally Tolerant
The Uneasy Case of Salvation Religions
William A. Edmundson
How can a tolerant, liberal political culture tolerate the presence of only conditionally tolerant illiberal sub-cultures while remaining true to its principles of tolerance? The problem falls within the intersection of two developments in the thinking of two of the leading anglophone philosophers of the last half-century, Bernard Williams and John Rawls. Rawls, particularly, struggled with the problem of how a liberal society might stably survive the clash of plural sub-cultures that a liberal society – unless it is oppressively coercive – must itself foster and allow to flourish. And he separately struggled with the problem of how liberal peoples might peacefully share the planet with illiberal, but “decent” peoples elsewhere. This article shows that Rawls's two solutions do not easily mix, and argues that state-approved early education must do more than merely to inform children that losing their faith will not land them in jail.
Assessing Democracy In Vitro, In Vivo, and In Actu and the Role of Democratic Theory Today
Anastasia Deligiaouri and Jane Suiter
How can we define democracy today given the continuous changes that modern societies are undergoing? What is the role of a democratic theorist? This paper articulates a threefold argument in responding to these questions by analyzing the term of democracy in vitro, in vivo, and in actu. The first step is to secure a democratic minimum and the core principles of democracy. The second step involves studying democracy as an ongoing project and examining how the principles of this democratic minimum are encoded. In the third step we deploy the basic premises of discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe when evaluating a specific discourse of democracy, as this approach encompasses both discursive and nondiscursive practices. Utilizing this three-level evaluative framework for democratic theory will allow us to not only articulate normative principles but also evaluate them according to their mode of implementation.
Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven, and Mohinder Singh
Crisis and Existentialism in the Work of Reinhart Koselleck
Gennaro Imbriano, Der Begriff der Politik: Die Moderne als Krisenzeit im Werk von Reinhart Koselleck [The concept of politics: Modernity as a time of crisis in the work of Reinhart Koselleck] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2018), 187 pp.
Jan Eike Dunkhase, Absurde Geschichte: Reinhart Kosellecks historischer Existentialismus [Absurd history: Reinhart Koselleck's historical existentialism] (Marbach: Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach, 2015), 67 pp.
Humanity in Practice: New Approaches to Conceptual History
Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, eds., Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), 324 pp.
The Merits of Mistranslation
Eric Schatzberg, Technology: Critical History of a Concept (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 344 pp.
Beyond Universalism and Nativism: The Conceptual Vocabulary of Indian Modernity
Gita Dharmpal-Frick, Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach, Rachel Dwyer, and Jahnavi Phalkey, eds., Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015), 350 pp.
Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice
Democratic Theory through an Agonistic Lens
This article seeks to explore democratic theory by focusing on the example of agonistic democracy, in which contest between citizens is valued for its potential to render politics more inclusive, more engaging, and more virtuous. Using Connolly and Tully's inclusivism, Chantal Mouffe's adversarialism, and David Owen's perfectionism, the article discusses democratic theory as a critique, a series of normative proposals, and a potential bridge between political theory and public policy. It is this bridge that enables democratic theory to pull together critical and normative discussions with those surrounding public policy and institutional design.
Keynes and Marx, Merchants, and Poets
This article is a history of liquidity presented as interaction between metaphors and theoretical concepts in social contexts. While taking note of Zygmunt Bauman's metaphor “liquid modernity,” the study instead surveys the wider conceptual field. The text turns around mercantile liquidity (liquidity as clarification) and liquidity in modern economics (characteristic of all assets), as well as older metaphors, notably the famous phrase of the Communist Manifesto, “all that is solid melts into air” (Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft), which is revealed to have resonance in texts by poets, notably Heinrich Heine. The main result is the historical consistency of the field, where liquidity is a promise of knowledge and clarity.
Conceptual History and South Asian History
State of the Art
This review article provides an overview of important, recent approaches to conceptual history from scholarship on South Asia. While conceptual history is not a consolidated field in South Asia, the colonial encounter has greatly stimulated interest in conceptual inquiries. Recent scholarship questions the uniformity even of well-researched concepts such as liberalism. It is methodologically innovative in thinking about the influence of economic structures for the development of concepts. Rethinking religious and secular languages, scholars have furthermore stressed the importance of smaller communicative units such as genre or hermeneutical practices to shape ideas e.g. of the political. As part of global and imperial formations, scholars are well aware of the link between power and colonial temporalities. Lastly, they have suggested new sources for conceptual history, such as literature, film, and sound.
Democratic Theory as Social Codification
Christian Ewert and Marion Repetti
What is democratic theory? In this article we treat it as a semiotic code – that is to say, a shared assumption – and argue that democratic theory enables people to think and talk about the idea(s) of democracy. Furthermore, the application of this specific code is highly political. For one, it is embedded in concrete contexts and discourses and used in arguments and narratives. In addition, the application of democratic theory has also substantial consequences on the lives of people. We illustrate this argument by reflecting briefly on Abraham Lincoln's “Gettysburg Address” and its recodification and consequences in different contexts.
Democratic Theory When Democracy Is Fugitive
Ali Aslam, David McIvor, and Joel Alden Schlosser
Urgent alarms now warn of the erosion of democratic norms and the decline of democratic institutions. These antidemocratic trends have prompted some democratic theorists to reject the seeming inevitability of democratic forms of government and instead to consider democracy as a fugitive phenomenon. Fugitive democracy, as we argue below, is a theory composed of two parts. First, it includes a robust, normative ideal of democracy and, second, a clear-eyed vision of the historical defeats and generic difficulties attendant to that ideal. This article considers how democratic theorists might respond to the challenges posed by fugitive democracy and the implications of such an understanding for future research in democratic theory.
Modernity, Ḥadātha, and Modernité in the Works of Abdallah Laroui
Conceptual Translation and the Politics of Historicity
The puzzle this article examines is how one can study the concept of modernity within the history of its universalization as a process of translation. For this purpose, I look at how the contemporary Moroccan historian and intellectual Abdallah Laroui has critically engaged with the history, politics, and epistemology of translating modernity (Arabic ḥadātha, French modernité) into his intellectual and political setting of Morocco, North Africa, and the Middle East during and after the colonial period. I read him as making a critical intervention into existing modes of timing and spacing the concept of modernity and, thus, what I describe as the politics of historicity. In conclusion, I make a methodological plea for framing the history of concepts across political borders in terms of translational practices.