How is it possible, that after the exhilarating start of democratic transitions in the late 1980s and 1990s, today authoritarian–populist options seem to be emerging in many new, as well as old democracies? Why does populism, that in most of its historical varieties has been anti-institutional and anti-procedural, turn to constitution making and constitutional rhetorics as one of its main arenas of contestation? The answers to these questions are related. In the following, in the form of six theses, I start (...) with what I mean by ‘populism’. Next, I wish to point to the two deficits of liberal democracy that provides the context for the rise of populist politics. These deficits according to me have been intensified in many of the new democracies. I continue by stressing populisms own deficits as the reason for turning to the constituent power. I end with a consideration of what liberal democrats can do to address the causes of the populist temptation. (shrink)
El concepto de sociedad civil ha cobrado especial relevancia en el ámbito de la teoría política de la democracia por su potencialidad analítica para el estudio de las transiciones desde regímenes dictatoriales a otros democráticos, así como para identificar nuevas esferas susceptibles de profundización democrática en el seno de las democracias realmente existentes. Tomando como base empírica de referencia las experiencias democratizadoras acaecidas en Europa Central y del Este, en el artículo se pasa revista a las principales objeciones teóricas al (...) uso contemporáneo del concepto de sociedad civil y se apuntan algunas áreas de investigación que contribuirían al proyecto permanente de ensanchamiento democrático. (shrink)
Thirty or even fifty years ago, the apology on the Left for the Soviet Union was direct. Today no one can read what the Webbs wrote in the '30s or what Sartre wrote in the early ‘50s without laughing, though we should recall the seriousness of the crimes they managed to represent — and, for the relevant audience, successfully. We have come a long way from all that, or so it seems. Actually, left-wing writing these days on the whole is (...) still apologetic — even if in indirect forms. Of the two major types of exercises in mystification, the one postulates an essential parallelism between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. as forms of domination, as centers of imperial systems, in one recent version as “exterminist” social formations. (shrink)
Constitutional politics has returned in our time in a truly dramatic way. In the last 25 years, not only in the new or restored democracies of South and East Europe, Latin America and Africa, but also in the established liberal or not so liberal democracies of Germany, Italy, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain, issues of constitution-making, constitutional revision and institutional design or redesign have been put on the political agenda. Even in the United States, given the new (...) or renewed problems of our versions of presidentialism, federalism and electoral regime, Article V has come to be experienced as a veritable prison house, and judicial constitution-making (think of Buckley v Valejo) is often seen as much as a threat to, as the protection of, democratic mechanisms. And, most recently, in countries currently experiencing externally imposed revolutions, namely Afghanistan and Iraq, constitution-making has turned out to be a central stake in the ongoing political process. We are living in an epoch in which the nations seem to be slouching, or being prodded, toward Philadelphia and Americans, as the heirs of Madison and MacArthur, are sorely tempted to try teaching others the secrets of its success as a supposedly continuous 200-year-old constitutional democracy. But to be an effective teacher, it is not enough to be in a position of political-military superiority. One must first relearn to learn and even to re-learn. (shrink)
Spurred by recent governmental transitions from dictatorships to democratic institutions, this highly original work argues that negotiated civil society-oriented transitions have an affinity for a distinctive method of constitution making— one that accomplishes the radical change of institutions through legal continuity. Arato presents a compelling argument that this is the preferred method for rapidly establishing viable democratic institutions, and he contrasts the negotiated model with radical revolutionary change. This exceptionally engaging work will be of interest to students and scholars of (...) comparative politics, constitutional law, and East European studies. (shrink)
Can a disastrous policy of illegally invading and occupying a distant country without a legitimate casus belli nevertheless have some good as its unintended consequence? Yes, but one should not generally count on it.
In the first essay, Habermas himself succinctly presents the centerpiece of his theory: his proceduralist paradigm of law. The following essays comprise elaborations, criticisms, and further explorations by others of the most salient issues addressed in his theory. The distinguished group of contributors—internationally prominent scholars in the fields of law, philosophy, and social theory—includes many who have been closely identified with Habermas as well as some of his best-known critics. The final essay is a thorough and lengthy reply by Habermas, (...) which not only engages the most important arguments raised in the preceding essays but also further elaborates and refines some of his own key contributions in _Between Facts and Norms_. This volume will be essential reading for philosophers, legal scholars, and political and social theorists concerned with understanding the work of one of the leading philosophers of our age. These provocative, in-depth debates between Jürgen Habermas and a wide range of his critics relate to the philosopher's contribution to legal and democratic theory in his recently published _Between Facts and Norms_. Drawing upon his discourse theory, Habermas has elaborated a novel and powerful account of law that purports to bridge the gap between democracy and rights, by conceiving law to be at once self-imposed and binding. (shrink)