In a political reading, 1989 has been predominantly interpreted from a liberal point of view, and its impact has primarily been taken as strengthening the liberal-democratic idea of a political community. The year 1989 is, however, not reducible to a mere confirmation of a universal status of liberal democracy, rather, a reverse reading-i.e., the recognition of the emergence of innovative, radical democratic ideas and practices from the East-is equally important to do full justice to the complex events of 1989. As a set of ideas (more specifically, dissident thought) as well as a set of practices (negotiation, self-limitation, and constitution-making), 1989 has provided important inspiration for innovation in the normative political theory of democracy, even if on the margins. The essay starts with a brief enquiry into the widespread triumphalist thesis of liberal democracy and continues by arguing that a more radical reading of 1989-in particular in the form of the radical notions of civil society and dissidence-is equally possible. The notion of "self-democratizing civil society" offers important ways of preserving the radical legacy of East-Central European dissidence. The idea of self-democratizing civil society should, however, be read together with the ideas of radical self-limitation, an anti-revolutionary understanding of revolution, pluralistic sovereignty, and an ethic of dissent in order for one to fully appreciate its innovative potential for the radical reinvigoration of modern democracies. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Democracy through the Lens of 1989: Liberal triumph or radical turn?

Blokker, Paul
2009

Abstract

In a political reading, 1989 has been predominantly interpreted from a liberal point of view, and its impact has primarily been taken as strengthening the liberal-democratic idea of a political community. The year 1989 is, however, not reducible to a mere confirmation of a universal status of liberal democracy, rather, a reverse reading-i.e., the recognition of the emergence of innovative, radical democratic ideas and practices from the East-is equally important to do full justice to the complex events of 1989. As a set of ideas (more specifically, dissident thought) as well as a set of practices (negotiation, self-limitation, and constitution-making), 1989 has provided important inspiration for innovation in the normative political theory of democracy, even if on the margins. The essay starts with a brief enquiry into the widespread triumphalist thesis of liberal democracy and continues by arguing that a more radical reading of 1989-in particular in the form of the radical notions of civil society and dissidence-is equally possible. The notion of "self-democratizing civil society" offers important ways of preserving the radical legacy of East-Central European dissidence. The idea of self-democratizing civil society should, however, be read together with the ideas of radical self-limitation, an anti-revolutionary understanding of revolution, pluralistic sovereignty, and an ethic of dissent in order for one to fully appreciate its innovative potential for the radical reinvigoration of modern democracies. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/676771
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