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Times of Democracy

The Unavoidable Democracy of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Denmark

Anne Engelst Nørgaard

Democracy became a popular and highly contested concept in the Danish-speaking parts of the Danish monarchy in 1848. For a brief time, it went from being an occasional guest in political language to a popular concept in the constitutional struggle of 1848–1849. This article argues democracy became attached to an equally popular concept of the time, movement, when introduced into everyday political communication in Denmark. In this context, democracy became a name for the movement observed in Europe and in the Danish monarchy. The article identifies three main interpretations of democracy that occurred in the Danish constitutional struggle of 1848–1849 and argues the battle over the constitution was essentially a battle over how one interpreted the past, the present, and the future. Democracy became a key term in this battle in 1848 Denmark.

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Nicholas Miller, Marie-Christine Boilard, Bo Lindberg and Jens Wendel-Hansen

Dan Edelstein, The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), xii + 209 pp.

Kirsten Haack, The United Nations Democracy Agenda: A Conceptual History (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2011), 256 pp.

Pasi Ihalainen, Agents of the People: Democracy and Popular Sovereignty in British and Swedish Parliamentary and Public Debates, 1734–1800 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010), xvi + 532 pp.

Jeppe Nevers, Fra skældsord til slagord. Demokratibegrebet i dansk politisk historie [From term of abuse to catchphrase: The concept of democracy in Danish political history] (Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2011), 225 pp.

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Introduction

Concepts of Emotions in Indian Languages

Margrit Pernau

At first glance, a conceptual history of emotions appears counterintuitive. Unlike the concepts of democracy or liberalism, emotion concepts seem to refer to stable objects, rooted in the genetic heritage of the human race. However, answers to the question, “What is an emotion?” vary widely across time and space. It cannot even be taken for granted that our analytic concept of emotion is matched by corresponding concepts in the sources: the very question might be untranslatable. In the first section, the introduction will discuss the challenge a conceptual history of emotions faces from psychology’s perception of affective phenomena as objects that exist independent of their representation. The aim of this section is to clear the theoretical and methodological ground for an investigation of emotion concepts in South Asian traditions, which will be the central focus of the second section of this introduction.

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Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker, Timo Pankakoski, Burkhard Conrad, Henrik Björck and Bogdan C. Iacob

Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori, eds., Global Intellectual History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 342 pp.

Stefan Breuer, Carl Schmitt im Kontext: Intellektuellenpolitik in der Weimarer Republik [Carl Schmitt in context: The politics of intellectuals in the Weimar Republic] (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012), 303 pp.

Olaf Bach, Die Erfindung der Globalisierung: Entstehung und Wandel eines zeitgeschichtlichen Grundbegriffs [The invention of globalization: Emergence and transformation of a contemporary basic concept] (Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2013), 270 pp.

Anna Friberg, Demokrati bortom politiken: En begreppshistorisk analys av demokratibegreppet inom Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti 1919–1939 [Democracy beyond politics: An analysis of the concept of democracy within the Swedish Social Democratic Party 1919–1939] (Stockholm: Bokförlaget Atlas, 2012), 314 + [37] pp.

Victor Neumann and Armin Heinen, eds., Key Concepts of Romanian History: Alternative Approaches to Socio-Political Languages (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2013), 516 pp.

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Conceptual History and Politics

Is the Concept of Democracy Essentially Contested?

Oliver Hidalgo

This article surveys the history of the concept of democracy from Ancient times to the present. According to the author, the conceptual history of democracy shows that the overwhelming success of the concept is most of all due to its ability to subsume very different historical ideas and realities under its semantic field. Moreover, the historical evolution of the concept reveals that no unequivocal definition is possible because of the significant paradoxes, aporias, and contradictions it contains. These are popular sovereignty vs. representation, quality vs. quantity, liberty vs. equality, individual vs. collective, and, finally, the synchronicity between similarities and dissimilarities. The ubiquitous usage of democracy in present-day political language makes it impossible to speak of it from an external perspective. Thus, both democratic theory and practice are suffused with empirical and normative elements.

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Democracy in the Plural?

The Concepts of Democracy in Swedish Parliamentary Debates during the Interwar Years

Anna Friberg

The article explores some of the composite concepts of democracy that were used in Sweden, primarily by the Social Democrats during the interwar years. Should these be seen as pluralizations of the collective singular democracy or as something qualitatively new? By showing how these concepts relate to each other and to democracy as a whole, the article argues that they should be considered statements about democracy as one entity, that democracy did not only concern the political sphere, but was generally important throughout the whole of society. The article also examines the Swedish parliamentarians' attitudes toward democracy after the realization of universal suffrage, and argues that democracy was eventually perceived as such a positive concept that opponents of what was labeled democratic reforms had to reformulate the political issues into different words in order to avoid coming across as undemocratic.