By Sor-Hoon Tan, John Whalen-Bridge

Explores the importance of Dewey's proposal on democracy for the modern international.

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Extra resources for Democracy as Culture: Deweyan Pragmatism in a Globalizing World

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For Mouffe, the concept of the political has its roots in the work of Carl Schmitt, which in turn has its roots in conservative Christian theology. In both cases, one relatively malign and the other relatively benign, there is a tendency to hypostatize something called “the political” that lies behind the ethical. Dewey’s ideas are much more radical in this regard. In his view, the larger function of the play of various publics involves the activities of a state. In this regard, his views are closer to those of anti-essentialist sociologists such as Bruno Latour than to those of Mouffe and Schmitt.

Such explanatory culturalism in political inquiry need not be antidemocratic unless it denies the possibility of cultural change. Unveiling the complex cultural bases of authoritarianism and democracy could aid democratization by showing which conditions need to change. Pye is defi nitely committed to promoting democracy. He is critical of the Asian values argument perpetrated by “enemies of democracy” who also subscribe to explanatory culturalism but who go beyond that to a normative conservative culturalism (Democracy 35).

Belief, in this sense, requires the positing of ends-in-view that are sufficiently flexible that they can take many forms, dependent upon cultural context and circumstances, for example. But at the same time such ends-in-view must not be so vague that they are merely arbitrary. Their genesis lies not merely in attempts to establish solidarity, as some have argued, but in the objective successes and failures of experimental activity related to the problems and prospects of associated living. Second, democracy is belief in a particular type of activity; it is a commitment to work for the attainment of the object of belief and a readiness to follow wherever experimental results lead.

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Democracy as Culture: Deweyan Pragmatism in a Globalizing by Sor-Hoon Tan, John Whalen-Bridge
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