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Globalizing DemocracyPower, Legitimacy and the Interpretation of Democratic Ideas$
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Katherine Fierlbeck

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719049958

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719049958.001.0001

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Can there be nonliberal democracy?

Can there be nonliberal democracy?

(p.100) 4 Can there be nonliberal democracy?
Globalizing Democracy

Katherine Fierlbeck

Manchester University Press

This chapter provides critical assessments of the new trends in democratic theory. It argues that any account of democracy grounded upon cultural identity rather than impartiality cannot present a satisfactory account of the containment and diffusion of political power which grounds the moral attractiveness of democracy in the modern global context. It shows that ‘culture’ and ‘identity’ are the concepts which prevent exponents of democracy from seeing the relevant similarities between the discredited communist version of democracy and the contemporary identity-based account of democracy. Moreover, it explores the claim that a ‘secure cultural context’ is a right necessary to protect and enhance the personal identity and sense of self-worth of cultural groups outside the dominant cultural context. Neutrality and universality, and the priority of individual rights, are strongly disputed. Group rights based upon cultural identity are an unsatisfactory foundation upon which to build an account of a ‘nonliberal’ democracy.

Keywords:   democratic theory, nonliberal democracy, cultural identity, political power, personal identity, neutrality, universality, individual rights, group rights

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