Illuminating and comprehensive, this excellent volume addresses the problematic relationship between democratic institutions and the current critique of enlightenment and modernity. Since at least the beginning of the twentieth century, and across the range of practice from science to politics to art, various cultural shifts have unsettled assumptions that have been fundamental to the development of democratic institutions: assumptions concerning individual identity, the nature of political systems, and the viability of egalitarian ideals. Can democracy survive these changes to the value systems upon which it has been based for over two centuries? This study does not focus on the often repeated particulars of past or current events such as 9/11 or the genocide in Darfur, but instead examines the terms and conditions under which it would be possible to prevent such events in the future.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Democracy and postmodernity: the problem, Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth; Citizenship, Resistance, and Democracy, Edward W. Said; Democracy as agonistic pluralism, Chantal Mouffe; Post-foundationalism and social democracy, Mark Bevir; Rewriting equality: difference, social justice, and 'postsocialist' politics, Fran Tonkiss; The politics of equality and the media: The Example of Feminism, Kristyn Gorton; Universal Ideals in a Multicultural Age: Pierre Bourdieu's recent theory and politics, Jeremy F. Lane; Self-Qualifying Systems: Consensus and Dissent in Postmodernity, Thomas Vargish; Index.
Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth is Saintsbury Professor Emerita at the University of Edinburgh, UK. She writes on the cultural history and current crisis of representation in western societies, and on the oppportunities it presents for rethinking commonly held understandings of political and personal life. She has held several distinguished appointments on both sides of the Atlantic.
'It is rare that a single volume provides such a comprehending cognitive mapping of where we are today. For anyone interested not merely in social theory but, even more, in the fate of our freedoms, this book is a MUST.' Slavoj Zizek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia