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Democracy versus History. IHS Political Science Series No. 34, May 1996

Touraine, Alain (1996) Democracy versus History. IHS Political Science Series No. 34, May 1996. [Working Paper]

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    Abstract

    Democratic thought has shifted its focus from history to memory. Liberty is now claimed in the name of a particular past – not in the name of an indefinite future, common to us all, a final point of convergence. The political thought of the Enlightenment and of the revolutionary epoch bore the democratic spirit by acting as a force destroying private powers, social barriers and cultural intolerance; but it is now becoming increasingly antidemocratic, elitist and even repressive, whenever it identifies a nation, social class, age group or gender with reason, so as to justify its domination over other categories. Today, democracy’s principal enemies are no longer tradition and belief but, on the one hand, fundamentalist community-based ideologies (whether their contents be nationalistic, ethnic or theocratic), which use modernity as a means of domination, and on the other hand, the blind trust in an open market, where cultural identities are mixed. Under these conditions, democratic thought must cease being prophetic. Democracy can no longer turn toward a promising future but toward a space to be reconstructed, to make room for the free construction of personal life and for the social and political forms of mediation that can protect it.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Democracy; Equality; Culture; History; Future.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Institute for Advanced Studies (Vienna), Department of Political Science > IHS Political Science Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2011 15:02
    Number of Pages: 30
    Last Modified: 14 Sep 2011 15:02
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/32437

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