14 August 2017

Some conditions of a viable democracy

In a prescient and extraordinarily lucid essay, published in ‘Transit’ almost 25 years ago and only now published in English in the Slovak journal ‘Kritika & Kontext’, political philosopher Charles Taylor develops a normative definition of democracy that avoids the pitfalls both of liberal individualism and authoritarian collectivism.

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Is there anything democratic about ‘illiberal democracy’? The temptation to dismiss its proponents as illegitimate is clear but, as Jeffrey C. Isaac argues, it was by openly examining and addressing their claims to act for ‘the people’ that previous authoritarian political movements were successfully challenged.

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Angry modernism

‘Springerin’ voices angry modernism from across the former USSR; ‘Arche’ reveals facets of Belarusian urban history; ‘dérive’ reports on housing crises and Main Street myths; ‘Historein’ traces nationalist narratives in Greek historiography; and ‘Esprit’ explores sex and sexuality after the revolution.

The best ever

‘Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik’ takes a leaf out of Kohl’s book; ‘Vagant’ reruns the Scandinavian experiment; ‘Dublin Review of Books’ suggests an Irish precedent for the Cyprus question; ‘Index on Censorship’ asks what 1917 means for freedom today; ‘Razpotja’ measures rhetoric against reality; ‘Merkur’ challenges middle-class aversion to party politics; ‘Ny Tid’ designs the best-ever utopia; ‘La Revue nouvelle’ understands algorithmocracy; ‘Dialogi’ looks at interculturalism in Slovene theatre; and ‘Ord&Bild’ suspects that Neanderthals were more easy-going.

Cold panic

‘New Eastern Europe’ warns of the de-Europeanization of the Balkans; ‘Mittelweg 36’ prefers transformation over far-Right fossilization; ‘Soundings’ embraces populism; ‘New Humanist’ critiques imaginative humanitarianism; ‘Host’ asks what happened to the Czech literary mainstream; ‘Czas Kultury’ reports on Polish Roma behind walls; ‘Res Publica Nowa’ seeks higher truths; and ‘Glänta’ suffers climate angst.

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European Meeting of Cultural Journals 2016. Panel: Liberalism, Populism and the Challenges of Post-Transformation in Eastern Europe and Elsewhere

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