Cultures of Democracy

An issue of: Public Culture

Cultures of Democracy
Journal Issue Pages: 240 Volume 19, Number 1 Published: 2007 An issue of Public Culture
Special Issue Editor: Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar
Cultures of Democracy, a special issue of Public Culture, proposes that democratic strategies and practices pursued by different countries, and the relative successes of those strategies and practices, are deeply affected by the countries’ cultures, histories, and reception of, or resistance to, modernity. The collection suggests that a commitment to normative models of democracy prevents recognition of democratic practices in societies not usually seen as democratic or proto-democratic from a Western vantage point. Offering accounts of practices of democracy in Egypt, Yemen, Argentina, and India, these cultural theorists—drawing on work in anthropology, political theory, and postcolonial studies—revise notions of what might be regarded as a democratic practice.

The essays look at examples of democracy in a variety of spheres. One examines how the chewing of khat leaves in public gatherings in Yemen acts as a democratic practice by creating spontaneous forums for political discussion. Another considers the events of the 2003 municipal elections in Buenos Aires, when the center Right secured a record number of votes from an electorate jaded by political corruption by forming strategic alliances with local football clubs, ultimately leading to the election of the president of one popular club. And another essay explores the Indian government’s reaction when the political methods used to achieve the nation’s independence—defiance of the law, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and the destruction of public property—were used to challenge the government in the postcolonial period. Taken as a whole, the essays argue that democracy might be productively viewed as a cultural system inclusive of many cultures of democracy.

Contributors. Arjun Appadurai, Craig Calhoun, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Jean Comaroff, Carlos Forment, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Claudio Lomnitz , Manar Shorbagy, Charles Taylor, Lisa Wedeen


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Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Guest Editor’s Letter: On Cultures Of Democracy–Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar

2. Foundations Of The Latin American Left–Claudio Lomnitz

3. Hope And Democracy–Arjun Appadurai

4. “In The Name Of Politics”: Democracy And The Power Of The Multitude In India–Dipesh Chakrabarty

5. The Politics Of Deliberation: Qa¯T Chews As Public Spheres In Yemen– 

Lisa Wedeen

6. The Democratic Dribbler: Football Clubs, Neoliberal Globalization, And Buenos Aires’ Municipal Election Of 2003–Carlos A. Forment

7. Cultures Of Democracy And Citizen Efficacy–Charles Taylor

8. Nationalism And Cultures Of Democracy–Craig Calhoun

9. The Egyptian Movement For Change—Kefaya: Redefining Politics In Egypt– 

Manar Shorbagy

10. Beyond Bare Life: Aids, (Bio)Politics, And The Neoliberal Order¬–Jean Comaroff

11. Books Received

12. Contributors 

Additional InformationBack to Top
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-8223-6672-0