Democracy: Problems and Perspectives

Roland Axtmann
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Democracy: Problems and Perspectives provides a critical review of the scholarly and political debates about democratic thought and of arguments about democratic practice. On the basis of an interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s political philosophy, the book presents democracy as a regime type in which citizens, who are united to give law, rule themselves and where such self-rule is exercised by citizens who embrace local and global patriotism. In the course of developing this idea of democracy, the book addresses issues such as human rights and their relationship to democracy; the policy of the global promotion of human rights and democracy; sovereignty and the nation-state; popular sovereignty and multicultural citizenship; and cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitan democracy.The book will stimulate controversial discussions about the varieties of democratic imaginations and visions, past and present as well as the future of democracy in the current stage of globalisation.Key Features*Presents a broad range of thinkers, theoretical and political positions and arguments *Clearly links theory and practice *Uses case studies to elucidate the theories discussed*Covers a broad range of theories of democracy

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2912-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
  5. 1 Kant’s Republicanism and the Cosmopolitan Persuasion
    (pp. 1-38)

    Immanuel Kant’s theory of political republicanism pinpoints succinctly key elements of modern political rule. First, Kant endorsed the idea of the sovereignty of the people that manifests itself in constitution-making and law-making: ‘The legislative power can belong only to the united will of the people’ (Kant [1797] 1996, hereafter MM, 457 [6: 313]).¹ Citizens as the members of a society uniting for the purpose of legislating are said to have the lawful freedom to obey only those laws to which they have given their consent; to enjoy equality before the law so that they possess perfectly symmetrical rights of coercion...

  6. 2 The Languages of Human Rights and the Liberal Dialect
    (pp. 39-78)

    ‘Moral’ cosmopolitanism as the idea of ‘humanity’ as a moral community finds one of its most pronounced expressions in the notion of universal human rights. As we have seen in the previous chapter, the recourse to human rights is of central importance in arguments in support of cosmopolitanism, and global justice in particular, and in justifications of military intervention in the internal affairs of other states. We shall return to the use to which ‘human rights’ are put to justify ‘humanitarian intervention’, and its implication for the idea of ‘sovereignty’, in Chapter 4. For the moment, however, we should remain...

  7. 3 The Globalisation of Democracy: The Right to Democratic Governance
    (pp. 79-133)

    In this chapter I wish to concentrate on one entitlement to which I have already referred in the previous discussion, the (emerging) right to democratic governance. In ‘classical’ international law, how a state was constituted internally was considered to be outside the purview of international law and to be irrelevant when it came to international recognition of a state. In one of the leading textbooks of international law at the turn of the last century, Lassa Oppenheim noted that ‘[t]he Law of Nations prescribes no rules as regards the kind of head a state may have. Every State is, naturally,...

  8. 4 Sovereignty and Democracy
    (pp. 134-194)

    In the first part of this chapter, I shall argue that the globalisation of liberal-representative democracy (together with its two pillars of capitalism and human rights) is premised upon a wholesale and sustained assault on the idea of ‘sovereignty’. The cosmopolitan agenda of spreading liberal democracy, human rights, and free markets is being pursued based on the destruction, or at the very least, the undermining of the idea (and the legal institution) of ‘sovereignty’. ‘Sovereignty’ is being denied to a wide range of states: ‘rogues states’ (or ‘outlaw states’), ‘failed states’, non-democratic states, and states which violate human rights –...

  9. 5 Liberal Democracy between Multiculturalism and Globalisation
    (pp. 195-232)

    We have seen in previous chapters that both ‘domestic’ and ‘Westphalian’ sovereignty have come under attack. However, it is not only ‘state’ sovereignty that has been assailed, but also ‘popular sovereignty’. The idea of a ‘homogeneous’ or ‘uniform’ people that informed the notion of the ‘demos’ is no longer convincing. If we define ‘democracy’ in accordance with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’, we must recognise that ‘the people’ (in the singular) has vanished (if it ever existed). We should better speak of ‘demoi’. In the last few decades, the definition...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 233-254)
  11. Index
    (pp. 255-266)