Democracy across Borders: From DÍmos to DÍmoi

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MIT Press, Jan 22, 2010 - Philosophy - 232 pages

An innovative conception of democracy for an era of globalization and delegation of authority beyond the nation-state: rule by peoples across borders rather than by "the people" within a fixed jurisdiction.

Today democracy is both exalted as the "best means to realize human rights" and seen as weakened because of globalization and delegation of authority beyond the nation-state. In this provocative book, James Bohman argues that democracies face a period of renewal and transformation and that democracy itself needs redefinition according to a new transnational ideal. Democracy, he writes, should be rethought in the plural; it should no longer be understood as rule by the people (dÍmos), singular, with a specific territorial identification and connotation, but as rule by peoples (dÍmoi), across national boundaries. Bohman shows that this new conception of transnational democracy requires reexamination of such fundamental ideas as the people, the public, citizenship, human rights, and federalism, and he argues that it offers a feasible approach to realizing democracy in a globalized world.

In his account, Bohman establishes the conceptual foundations of transnational democracy by examining in detail current theories of democracy beyond the nation-state (including those proposed by Rawls, Habermas, Held, and Dryzek) and offers a deliberative alternative. He considers the importance of communicative freedom in the transnational public sphere (including networked communication over the Internet), human rights as the normative basis of transnational democracy, and the European Union as a transnational polity. Finally, he examines the relationship between peace and democracy, concluding that peace requires democratization on interacting state and suprastate levels.

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The Conceptual Foundations of Transnational Democracy
Communicative Freedom and Transnational Publics
The Human Right to Membership
Deliberative Democracy and the European Union
Democracy Peace and Justice across Borders

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Page 103 - Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Page 195 - Regimes can be defined as sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures around which actors expectations converge in a given area of international relations.
Page ii - Axel Honneth, The Critique of Power: Reflective Stages in a Critical Social Theory Axel Honneth, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts...
Page ii - Claus Offe, Varieties of Transition: The East European and East German Experience (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996), 94.
Page 98 - The question whether we belong to a larger community is answered in terms of whether our own actions call out a response in this wider community, and whether its response is reflected back into our own conduct"(Mead 1934: 270-71).
Page 98 - This sort of mutual responsiveness and interdependence is possible only in a democratic form of communication that accommodates multiple perspectives. To the question of the applicability of such norms and institutions internationally, Mead is optimistic: "Could a conversation be conducted internationally? The question is a question of social organization
Page 76 - Contrary to misleading analogies to the national public sphere, such a development hardly demands that the public sphere be 'integrated with media systems of matching scale that occupy the same social space as that over which economic and political decisions will have an impact
Page 70 - One activity that reflects the distinctive kind of communication that goes on in the public sphere is the ability to raise topics or express concerns that cut across social spheres. This not only circulates information about the state and the economy, but it also establishes a forum for criticism in which the boundaries of these spheres can be crossed and challenged, primarily in response to citizens' demands for accountability and influence.
Page 90 - Existing political practice, with its complete ignoring of occupational groups and the organized knowledge and purposes that are involved in the existence of such groups, manifests a dependence upon a summation of individuals quantitatively, similar to Bentham's purely quantitative formula of the greatest sum of pleasures of the greatest possible number. The formation of parties or, as the eighteenth-century writers called them, factions, and the system of party government is the practically necessary...

About the author (2010)

James Bohman is Danforth Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. He is the author, editor, or translator of many books.

Thomas McCarthy is John Schaffer Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern University and the editor of the MIT Press series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought.

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