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Lawrence Hamilton

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt

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Bertjan Wolthuis

Recently several critics of mainstream political thought have advocated a realist understanding of politics, particularly in opposition to John Rawls’ political liberalism. Mainstream normative political thought is depicted by these critics as

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Nexus Politics

Conceptualizing Everyday Political Engagement

Matthew Flinders and Matthew Wood

Existing research on alternative forms of political participation does not adequately account for why those forms of participation at an “everyday” level should be defined as political. In this article we aim to contribute new conceptual and theoretical depth to this research agenda by drawing on sociological theory to posit a framework for determining whether nontraditional forms of political engagement can be defined as genuinely distinctive from traditional participation. Existing “everyday politics” frameworks are analytically underdeveloped, and the article argues instead for drawing upon Michel Maffesoli’s theory of “neo-tribal” politics. Applying Maffesoli’s insights, we provide two questions for operationally defining “everyday” political participation, as expressing autonomy from formal political institutions, and building new political organizations from the bottom up. This creates a substantive research agenda of not only operationally defining political participation, but examining how traditional governmental institutions and social movements respond to a growth in everyday political participation: nexus politics.

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Simon Tormey and Jean-Paul Gagnon

to political scientists now and that reflect the topics many democratic theorists have been discussing of late. Both of these dimensions are given in Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy from the ending of his Gettysburg Address. Lincoln says to

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Moral Conflict

The Private, the Public and the Political

Marios Filis

public and the political, and that we should follow a different approach towards understanding the inner connection between moral conflict and politics. Therefore the first part of the argument, which has been most often associated with the work of

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Between the Social and the Political

The Role of the Proto-Political Sphere in Political Participation

Pia Rowe and David Marsh

While Wood and Flinders’ work to broaden the scope of what counts as “politics” in political science is a needed adjustment to conventional theory, it skirts an important relationship between society, the protopolitical sphere, and arena politics. We contend, in particular, that the language of everyday people articulates tensions in society, that such tensions are particularly observable online, and that this language can constitute the beginning of political action. Language can be protopolitical and should, therefore, be included in the authors’ revised theory of what counts as political participation.

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Monique Deveaux

A central claim made on behalf of deliberative democracy is that it can foster the inclusion and empowerment of ordinary citizens in democratic political life. But ideal structures of deliberation tell us remarkably little about how much real

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Colonising ‘Free’ Will

A Critique of Political Decolonisation in Ghana

Bernard Forjwuor

Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto you. — Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House — Audre Lorde While the general concept, meanings, and accounts of

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The Future of Representative Politics

On Tormey, Krastev and Rosanvallon

Mihail Evans

Internationally, the wave of protests that came in the wake of the what has been called the 2008 economic crisis have rightly been seen as a suggestive of dramatic challenges to how politics operates. In this paper I look at two very different studies of these

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The “Democracy-Politics Paradox”

The Dynamics of Political Alienation

Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

Contemporary political scientists have observed a democratic paradox that has crystallized around the disconnection between how citizens imagine their democracy and how politics is practiced. Citizens continue to believe in the values of liberal democracy but are increasingly disillusioned with how their political systems work and the politics that are practiced in the name of democracy. This article revisits the root causes of political alienation to better understand this democratic paradox. It provides both a conceptual understanding of political alienation and its domain of action and insights into how the concept can be operationalized and measured in empirical research. It argues that while democracy itself may not be in crisis, the politics on which its operation rests is in peril.