Democratic Theory's eleventh issue (6, July 2019) features four new research articles as well as an interview, a critical commentary, a practitioner's note and a book review. It begins with Stephanie Erev's article, which explains neoliberalism's assaults on democracy and nature. Working through Hayek, Erev suggests that opposing neoliberal extractivist culture from both the democratic and ecological standpoints “may offer the greatest promise for creative and collaborative struggles toward new worlds and new ways of life” today.
Robin Rodd's article on Uruguay's “state-driven democratization” follows from the above. Rodd explains how the political party Frente Amplio is reinvigorating Battlismo – an early twentieth-century political struggle for “social justice, civic republicanism and … social democracy” – and how such efforts are driving a “politics of closeness” in Uruguay. As Rodd writes, Frente Amplio's efforts are an example that democratization and “new figures of the citizen and new permutations for connecting citizens with representative institutions” remain possible in post-democratic contexts.
Following this, Nicolas Pirsoul explains how the consociational model of democracy that came to be implemented in Iraq after the US-led invasion has entrenched sectarian identity tensions. In his article, Pirsoul explores whether more deliberative democratic practices in Iraq could be a means to avoid “a dangerous process of reification of identities and to promote a progressive politicization of identities.”
The last research article in this issue is by Jonas Hultin Rosenberg who challenges the view about the incompatibility of inclusion and equality. Rosenberg's disambiguation of both positions shows that neither is clear-cut: the all-affected principle which requires inclusion of everyone affected by a collective decision may not be a particularly attractive principle of inclusion, “when decision-making power is distributed equally among those who are included.” Likewise, “political equality understood as requiring an equal distribution of decision-making power among those who are included is not particularly attractive if those who are included are not equal in the relevant sense.” Striking a balance between the two positions, in whichever societal context the discussion is being held, appears to be a way forward.
This issue features an interview of André Bächtiger by Selen Ercan. The pair discuss the post-model paradigm of democracy and its implications for the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. The idea is to define democracy, and its function in relation to a problem and the context it is situated in (à la Warren). It is from this vantage point that one can appreciate how forms of deliberation can blend in situ and be sequenced in practice, as sometimes deliberation as story-telling will prove more relevant than deliberation as practical reasoning or vice versa. From the makings of the Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, to the experience of working with Jürgen Habermas, to thinking about the future of deliberation as a key player in democratic systems, this interview offers a grounded insight into Bächtiger's decades of work and experiences in deliberative and democratic theory.
In critical commentary, Henri Vogt writes a letter to Jan Zielonka as a response to his book – Counter-Revolution – in which Zielonka laments the decline of liberalism in Europe. Vogt challenges Zielonka's analysis by pointing out that the concepts “liberalism” and “egalitarianism” are both ill-defined. Vogt also suggests that long-term decision-making, the consideration of future generations, is a hallmark tactic for combatting the “myopia, the short terms of electoral cycles” of many European countries which “demoralizes the institutions of political decision-making.”
This issue also features a Practitioner's Note reflecting the effort and commitment of the journal to establish and sustain a conversation between theorists and practitioners of democracy. Joshua Murchie, co-founder of civic start-up Little Phil (littlephil.org), prepared the Note with Jean-Paul Gagnon to share how his initiative could change the relationship between philanthropy and democracy. A free app that promotes accountability, transparency, and interpersonal relationships between givers and receivers brings a number of the enjoyments of philanthropic donation – traditionally the remit of wealthy foundations – to internet users.
This issue wraps with Matthew Ordoñez's review of Garry Rodan's book Participation Without Democracy. Ordoñez finds that “Rodan's book breaks new ground for further investigations and theoretical questions on the resilience of illiberal governments and ideologies within and beyond Southeast Asia.”