Globalizing Democracy: Power, Legitimacy and the Interpretation of Democratic Ideas

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Manchester University Press, Oct 15, 2008 - Political Science - 288 pages
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This new edition examines some of the philosophical and theoretical issues underlying the ‘democratic project’ which increasingly dominates the fields of comparative development and international relations. The first concern presented here is normative and epistemological: as democracy becomes more widely accepted as the political currency of legitimacy, the more broadly it is defined. But as agreement decreases regarding the definition of democracy, the less we are able to evaluate how it is working, or indeed whether it is working at all.

The second issue is causal: what are the claims being made regarding how best to secure a democratic system in developing states? To what extent do our beliefs and expectations of how political relations ought to be governed distort our understanding of how democratic societies do in fact emerge; and, conversely, to what extent does our understanding of how democracy manifests itself temper our conception of what it ought to be?

The volume will be of interest to those in international development studies, as well as political theorists with an interest in applied ethics.


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Contextualizing the debate over democracy
The ambiguity of democracy

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About the author (2008)

Katherine Fierlbeck is Professor of Political Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

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