The Condition of Democracy
Volume 3: Postcolonial and Settler Colonial Contexts
Classical liberal democratic theory has provided crucial ideas for a still dominant and hegemonic discourse that rests on ideological conceptions of freedom, equality, peacefulness, inclusive democratic participation, and tolerance. While this may have held some truth for citizens in Western liberal-capitalist societies, such liberal ideals have never been realized in colonial, postcolonial and settler colonial contexts. Liberal democracies are not simply forms of rule in domestic national contexts but also geo-political actors. As such, they have been the drivers of processes of global oppression, colonizing and occupying countries and people, appropriating indigenous land, annihilating people with eliminatory politics right up to genocides. There can be no doubt that the West – with its civilizational Judeo-Christian idea and divine mission ‘to subdue the world’ – has destroyed other civilizations, countries, trading systems, and traditional ways of life and is responsible for the death of hundreds of millions of human beings in the course of colonizing the world from its Empires of trade through colonialism to settler colonialism and today’s politics of regime change. The book discusses the settler colonial regime that Israel has established in Palestine while still claiming to be a democracy. It discusses the failures of liberal democracy to overcome the structural and racist inequalities in post-Apartheid South Africa, and it presents hopeful outlooks on new ideas and forms of democracy in social movements in the MENA region.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A ‘Master-Race Democracy’: Myths and Lies of Western Liberal Civilization
Part 1: Democracy as a Progressive Force and the Failure of Liberal Democracy
1. The Algerian Hirak: Citizenship, Non-Violence and the New Movement for Democracy
Jessica Ayesha Northey
2. Stateless Radical Democracy and Law in Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
3. South Africa and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy: Settler-Colonial Modernity and a Dominant Friend-Enemy Conception of Politics
Part 2: Palestine: Settler Colonialism and the Impossibility of Democracy
4. Israeli Conception of ‘Peace’ as an Indirect Colonial Rule
5. The Struggle for Democratic Space Under Violent Settler Colonialism and Authoritarian Rule
6. Moving Mountains? Palestinian Claim Making from Oslo Onwards
7. Political Resistance and Contested Citizenship
Scott A. Bollens
8. Municipal Elections in Occupied Jerusalem: Why Do Palestinians Boycott?
9. How the Law of Return Creates One Legal Order in Palestine
10. The Discourse of Exceptionalism: Civil and Human Rights in Israel
Jürgen Mackert is Professor of Sociology and co-director of the ‘Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity' at Potsdam University, Germany. His research interests include sociology of citizenship, political economy, closure theory, and collective violence. Recent publication: Social life as collective struggle: Closure theory and the problem of solidarity, SOZIALPOLITIK.CH (2021).
Hannah Wolf is a Researcher and Lecturer at the Chair for General Sociology at the University of Potsdam, and associate member at the DFG-collaborative research centre 'Re-Figuration of Spaces'. Her research interests include urban sociology, theories of space and place, and citizenship studies. Latest publication: Am Ende der Globalisierung: Über die Refiguration von Räumen (ed. with Martina Löw, Volkan Sayman and Jona Schwerer), 2021, transcript.
Bryan S. Turner is Research Professor of Sociology at the Australian Catholic University (Sydney), Emeritus Professor at the Graduate Center CUNY, Honorary Max Planck Professor at Potsdam University, Germany, and Research Fellow at the Edward Cadbury Center, University of Birmingham, UK. He holds a Cambridge Litt.D. In 2020 with Rob Stones he published ‘Successful Societies: Decision-making and the quality of attentiveness’, British Journal of Sociology, 71(1), 183–202.
"This highly original volume does wonder in showing the dark side of liberalism and in documenting how democratic projects exist in adverse and repressive contexts, such as Palestine, Syrian Kurdistan, and Algeria. The legacies of settler colonialism impact the prospect for democratic rule in post-Apartheid South Africa but do not deter Palestinian, Kurdish, or Algerian steadfastness for self-governance. As one of the contributors argues, analyses of the relation between democracy and citizenship cannot ignore the countries outside of Europe. We cannot ignore the multifaceted impacts of settler colonial formations on democracy at large. An eye-opener for comparativists and political theorists."
Benoit Challand, Associate Professor of Sociology, The New School for Social Research
"This excellent collection of papers, with each presenting original arguments about the historical evolution of settler-colonialism in Palestine, before and since Oslo, is a must read. A required reading for anyone interested to learn about the founding myths of Israeli democracy and the realities of occupied Palestine."
Nur Masalha, Professor at the Centre for Palestine Studies, SOAS University of London