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Democracy

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 27

									Democracy
and its discontent
          Or is it not?


• Democracy, CITIZENSHIP & Education
      But before we begin
• 1) Define what democracy is; 2) Why
  we need it; 3) What kind of democracy
  is Morocco; and 4) Is democracy
  compatible with Sharia or Islam(ic law)?

• Be divided into two groups: Be in the
  group you don‟t believe in.
  To recap: Three ‘kinds’ of
         citizenship
• The personally responsible citizen: She or he
  who “acts responsibly in his/her community
  by, for example, picking up litter, giving blood,
  recycling, obeying laws, and staying out of
  debt” (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004, p. 3). The
  role of education here is to teach how to
  become a volunteer.
             Continue …
• The participatory citizen: One who
  actively participates in the civic affairs
  and social life of the local community at
  local, state and national levels. The role
  of education here is to teach about how
  government and community based
  organizations work and how to be
  informed in changing, for example,
  school policy.
              Continue …
• The justice oriented citizen: One who is
  informed on the structural nature of injustice
  and the interplay of social, economic, and
  political forces. The role of education here is
  teach social change and that charity and
  volunteerism are not ends in themselves, but
  we need to effect systemic change, in the
  root of a problem. “When I give food to the
  poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why
  the poor have no food, they call me a
  communist” (Bishop Dom Helder Camara)
       Democratic Theories

•   Renascent liberal democracy (John Dewey)
•   Strong democracy (Benjamin Barber)
•   Deliberative democracy (Iris Young)
•   Radical democracy (Laclau & Mouffe)
       What is ‘democracy’?
• Greek: „demos‟ (people) & „kratia‟ (rule, power, force)
• Conceived in the „city-state‟ of Athens as a reaction
  to a concentration and abuse of power by the rulers
  and as the „rule of the people‟ - (for and by the people
  - Lincoln).
• „People‟ actually meant wealthy men
• Not until the Enlightenment (17th/18th Century) do
  we have our current notion of democracy: a
  constitution, election, separation of powers, rights
  and responsibilities (legal, personal and political), and
  separation of church and state
  Simply put: Democracy is
• the political orientation/philosophy of those
  who advocate a government by the people or
  by their elected representatives
• a political system in which the supreme
  power lies in a body of citizens who can elect
  people to represent them
• majority rule: the doctrine that the numerical
  majority of an organized group can make
  decisions binding on the whole group: The
  challenge of democracy is its minority.
 Of course, it is the worst form of
           government


• “No one pretends that democracy is perfect
  or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that
  democracy is the worst form of government
  except all those other forms that have been
  tried from time to time.”
 So, democracy is built against
• Monarchy: Government by a single ruler (king/queen,
  emperor)
• Aristocracy: Government by noblemen (hereditary)
• Oligarchy: Government by few persons
• Theocracy: "Government by God" (in reality this means
  government by religious leaders)
• Dictatorship: Government by people, that have seized
  power by force (e.g., military dictatorship)
 Renascent liberal democracy
       (John Dewey)
• Classic vs New Liberalism
• Classic Liberalism is associated with John
  Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and
  premised on: 1) individual rights are natural
  rights, 2) individuals need protection from
  invasion and criminals and from others trying
  to take away their rights to free speech and to
  carry arms, 3) securing opportunities to fulfill
  one‟s own potential
       Classic Liberalism
• The role of the government or the state
  is to protect individuals from others and
  otherwise stay out of their lives and
  allow them to live as they freely choose.
• One should always be suspicious of the
  government
      Then came Dewey:
     Renascent Liberalism
• He critiqued the primacy of
  individualism by introducing the notion
  of community to it. One is not developed
  atomistically on her own.
• For Dewey, democracy is a mode of
  associated living, where we start out as
  members of communities (and our first
  community is our family).
          Our sense of self


• So, our sense of self begins in-relation-with-
  others: there is no self without the other.
        The government
• The government is seen as a tool to
  alleviate suffering and help those in
  need
• Using public funding, the government
  should pay for public education
    Principles of Renascent
           Liberalism
• 1) Democracy is an ideal always-in-the-making,
  never to be achieved, and so is community:
  “Democracy must begin at home, and its home is the
  neighborly community” (The Public, 1954, p. 213)
• 2) Ultimately, individuals should have “freed
  intelligence” - a scientific method of reflective thinking
• 3) Material security is a prerequisite for individual
  freedom
               Principles
• 4) What we believe as individuals is the
  outcome of association and intercourse.
  Here, a society is individuals in their
  connections with one another (and politics is
  secondary to this)
• 5) So our aim in education should be to
  initiate our young into communities by
  teaching them our language and customs
             Principles
• 6) We are not going to have democracy
  until all our institutions are run
  democratically (mosques, business,
  schools, family, law, government, etc.)
• 7) Democracy needs free speech, free
  press, free assembly, and an education
  system that encourages inquiry - a
  scientific attitude
          Strong Democracy
          (Benjamin Barber)
• It is built against Liberalism, which for
  Barber lacks a theory of citizenship
  since it totally focuses on the individual
• “To be political is to have to choose,”
  and to have to choose is without
  reference to grounds that are a priori.
       Strong democracy is
• “politics in the participatory mode where conflict is
  resolved in the absence of an independent ground
  through a participatory process of ongoing,
  proximate self-legislation and the creation of a
  political community capable of transforming
  dependent, private individuals into free citizens and
  partial and private interests into public goods”
  (Strong democracy, 1984, p. 132).
             Ultimately ..
• Democracy‟s central values are:
  participation, citizenship, and political
  activity.
• He wants: direct participation, face-to-
  face community communication,
  volunteer programs, rotating lottery
  system for citizens to take their run in
  local political system
       Deliberative Democracy
             (Iris Young)
• Democracy CANNOT aim for consensus,
  harmony, and reconciliation for these lead too
  easily to domination and oppression of
  “people not like us.”
• She is calling for TWO things: 1) developing
  and exercising one‟s capacities and
  expressing one‟s experience, and 2)
  participating in determining one‟s action and
  the conditions of one‟s action
    What is she calling for?
• She wants an unoppressive city, one with a
  population large enough that people can find freedom
  in anonymity. She does not want to know everybody,
  nor does she want everybody to know her; she wants
  to be able to come and go unnoticed (unless she
  chooses otherwise). She wants a city where people
  can create a coalition around an issue and then
  dissolve this coalition and reclaim anonymity
  (differentiated solidarity); a place that offers social
  differentiation without exclusion.
       Radical democracy
(Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe)
• It is neither communitarian nor liberal nor Marxist - at
  the intersection
• First, individual rights shouldn‟t be over the common
  good; here, equality and individual freedom should
  not tolerate a highly unequal social order
• Second, structural relations of oppression should
  recognize that oppression and exploitation are deeply
  rooted in social relations
                      RD
• Third, capitalism should be critiqued, but
  class shouldn‟t be the center of analysis
• Fourth, not all arguments are equally valid,
  hence all has to be approached: as
  contingent, non-essentialist, and hence
  preserving the plurality of the social
• Fifth, power relation is central
                      RD
• Sixth: There should be an open confrontation
  and no victory is final
• Seventh: Democracy is always to come, and
  can never be.

• So our task is “to envision the creation of a
  vibrant “agnostic” public sphere of
  contestation” (On the Political, 2005, p. 3)

								
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