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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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Deromanticizing democracy

Deromanticizing democracy

(p.227) 8 Deromanticizing democracy
Globalizing Democracy

Katherine Fierlbeck

Manchester University Press

This chapter describes the romanticization of democracy. As democracy has become more prevalent and more successful, it is seen as superficial and unsatisfying. The current romanticization of democracy is closely tied to the development of the concept of autonomy. The German Romantics discussed autonomy and individual liberty without reference to democracy, while Jean-Jacques Rousseau discussed autonomy with reference to democracy, but at the expense of individual liberties. The best form of democracy for a globalized world is one in which clear and impartial institutions permit individuals enough room to sort out subjective issues like ‘meaningfulness’ in their own way. The cultural rights are necessary to address power imbalances. ‘Democracy’ must ensure a clear measure of the diffusion of power within states; but recognition of ‘state sovereignty’ does not require that states be seen as democratic.

Keywords:   democracy, romanticization, autonomy, German Romantics, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, cultural rights, power imbalances, state sovereignty, individual liberty

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