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’Tis but a Habit in an Unconsolidated Democracy

Habitual Voting, Political Alienation and Spectatorship

Anthony Lawrence A. Borja

on electoral participation as voter turnout, 1 this article will look at the challenges to democratisation posed by spectatorship as a predominant form of citizenship in contemporary mass democracies. To begin with, through her studies on American

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How Participatory Institutions Deepen Democracy through Broadening Representation

The Case of Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Laurence Piper

At the same time as democracy has 'triumphed' in most of the world, it leaves many unsatisfied at the disjuncture between the democratic ideal and its practical expression. Participatory practices and institutions, as exemplified in the participatory budgeting process of the local government of Porto Alegre in Brazil, claim to embody a more substantive version of democracy that can settle this deficit. This article interrogates this promise through examining closely the case of Porto Alegre. In addition to demonstrating clear democratic outcomes, this examination also reveals that the meaning of democratic deepening is not cashed out exclusively in terms of participation but in terms of representation too. More specifically, participatory budgeting serves to broaden representation in the budgeting process as a whole, by better including and amplifying the voice of marginalised groups in aspects of the budgeting process, albeit through participatory practices and events. On reflection this should not be surprising as participatory budgeting introduces new decision-making procedures that supplement rather than replace existing representative institutions, and reform rather than transform expenditure patterns. Thus although termed participatory, at the level of the municipal system as a whole, participatory institutions assist in better representing the interests of marginalised groups in decision-making through participatory means. Deepening democracy, therefore, at least as far as new participatory institutions are concerned, is about new forms of representation and participation, rather than replacing representation with participation.

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Allan C. Hutchinson and Joel Colón-Ríos

The relationship between democracy and constitutions is a long and fractious one. Those who lean towards the constitutionalist side have tended to perceive democracy as a threat to political order and the preservation of important values, whereas those who take a more democratist stance tend to treat constitutions as elite hindrances to popular rule as much as anything else. In this paper, we will give the constitutionalist thesis a broader theoretical and political scrutiny. By way of explanation, we will address and recommend the possibilities and problems for putting into practical operation such an anti-constitutionalist stance; the recent experience of the U.S. State of California offers itself as a good forcing-ground for these ideas. In short, from a democratic standpoint, the challenge for the citizenry is not so much about defining the values of constitutions, but constitutions whose change is outside the scope of popular decision making, supposed to exclusively take place through judicial interpretation or through an amendment formula designed precisely to make change difficult and unlikely. Too often, constitutions place checks and limits on democratic participation in the name of some other set of vaunted truths or elite-favouring values. For the strong democrat, it is formal constitutions and their institutional paraphernalia that do more to inhibit and dull democracy's emancipatory potential than to nurture and fulfil it.

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Azzedine Haddour

In the first part of this essay, in order to grasp the complex and ambivalent relation of Fanon with negritude, I will recover the context from which emerged the ideology of negritude by focusing on the views of Léopold Senghor and the ways in which these views determined Sartre's interpretation of the movement. I will also examine Sartre's Black Orpheus and the influence it had on Fanon, especially on his Black Skin, White Masks. In the second part, I will adumbrate Fanon's critique of the advocates of negritude, whom he refers to as 'men of culture', who fell back on archaic cultural practices far removed from the political realities of their colonized societies. In the third section, I will turn to Memmi's critique of Fanon with a view to establishing two points: first, Memmi misreads Fanon's rejection of negritude as a failure on the part of Fanon to 'return to self'; second, far from being an oppositional post-modern figure whose work is rife with contradiction, I will argue that the political project of Fanon is consistently Sartrean, despite his disagreement with Sartre on some issues.

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An Act is Worth a Thousand Words

A Place For Public Action And Civic Engagement in Deliberative Democracy

Steven Douglas Maloney and Joshua A. Miller

In this paper, we argue that deliberative democrats have too narrow a conception of the political, but that 'activism' as it is normally understood is not sufficiently broad, either. Politics is not reducible to coercion and contestation, but rather to the constitution of our shared world. We contend that active citizenship more often takes the form of working in a rape crisis center or a domestic violence clinic than participating in marches or town meetings.

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Thomas W. Pogge

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying that “democracy is the worst possible form of government except – all the others that have been tried”. This thought may stimulate efforts to overcome the defects of democracy through the exploration of as yet untried alternatives superior to democracy. In our time, however, an effort to overcome these defects through the exploration of as yet untried superior forms of democracy seems far more promising. Despite their multi-dimensional diversity, existing democratic regimes are scattered over a minuscule sector of the space of possible democratic structures. It cannot be said that experience and reflection have produced convergence upon this sector. Most of the other possibilities have never been tried or discussed. Indeed, many could not have been tried or discussed because they are becoming feasible only now, in the dawning information age. It is not, then, good reasons that keep practice and reflection within the narrow sector, but habit and entrenchment. We are deeply accustomed to the conventional forms of democracy. And politicians successful under prevailing rules tend to be hostile to any significant reforms. But this should not stop the rest of us from at least thinking about alternatives.

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Bilal Tawfiq Hamamra

of Palestinian female political activists whose political participation, however, demands their silencing through acts of so-called ‘martyrdom’. Elizabeth Bronfen argues that ‘the representation of a woman killing herself in order to produce an

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Othello in Oman

Aḥmad al-Izkī’s Fusion of Shakespeare and Classical Arab Epic

Katherine Hennessey

pointing out some unexpected thematic similarities. Rather, the juxtaposition performs a clever and well-placed intervention in ongoing socio-political debates on the Arabian Peninsula surrounding issues of identity, citizenship and political participation

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Textasy

The Seduction of the Text in Muriel Spark's Work

Fotini Apostolou

This excerpt from Mary Shelley’s introduction to Frankenstein, I believe, puts into a context the idea of the author’s relation to his/her text, working on two levels at the same time. It is at this point that the ‘author’s’ chase by his creature begins, and it is at this moment that Shelley’s pursuit by her text is phrased. Frankenstein’s ‘text’, a mixture of pieces from dead bodies, is brought to life and begins its wandering and the chase of its ‘author’, at times reading its own body, at other times demanding a change in the author’s narrative, a participation in the ‘writing’ of his destiny.

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Vixens of Venery

Women, Sport, and Fox-Hunting in Britain, 1860–1914

Erica Munkwitz

In the years between 1860 and 1914, more women than ever pursued equestrian activities throughout Britain. A study of riding manuals for ladies shows why these pursuits became so popular and how female equestrians used sports such as fox-hunting to revise, but not reject, traditional gender roles. Well before the First World War, many British women practised and encouraged the masculine style of riding astride rather than the traditional feminine style of riding sidesaddle. As women riders worked to make this style both acceptable and respectable, they helped to redefine social roles and ideas about proper feminine behaviour which directly or indirectly contributed to the women's rights movement. In these ways, British women were able to use their participation in equestrian activities to advance strong, independent identities for themselves while also helping to create and reinforce a specifically British national identity through horse sports.