Global Democracy, Social Movements, and Feminism

Global Democracy, Social Movements, and Feminism

Global Democracy, Social Movements, and Feminism

Global Democracy, Social Movements, and Feminism

Synopsis

This work examines the relationship between social movements and democracy in social and political thought in the light of feminist efforts to democratise the polity and the feminist movement itself.

Excerpt

This book explores the relationship between social movements and democracy in social and political thought. It does so in the context of arguments about the exclusions and mobilizations generated by gender hierarchies and the impact of globalization. Two interrelated questions are considered. What is the role and significance of movements in democracy according to social and political theorists? Conversely, in what ways do movements disrupt the assumptions of social and political theorists and point toward alternative understandings and practices of democracy? These questions are examined with a particular focus on feminism, which is both a social movement and a range of theoretical approaches, and which has struggled at length with the problems and possibilities of democracy.

The impetus for this inquiry has been provided by rising concern in social and political thought about the weaknesses of contemporary democracy—despite the near worldwide hegemony that democracy seems to have achieved in recent years. Of particular significance is an apparent "convergence of views ... that a major culprit in the hollowing out of democratic institutions and the growing incapacity of democratic states to direct their own future is the intensity of contemporary globalization" (McGrew 1997b: 234). Processes identified as key here include innovations in communications and transport technology; the unification and increasing autonomy of the global economy; the proliferation of supra‐ state political institutions; and the homogenization, fragmentation, and interpenetration of cultural forms. Many analysts believe that such processes are leading to the diffusion of democracy in a particularly weak form and producing disjunctures between the sources of power and those affected by them. This may be exacerbating the disaffection of citizens who feel unable to exercise control over the forces affecting their lives. It may also be encouraging their mobilization in ways that bypass conventional, state-centric politics.

The other major source of concern behind this book is the feminist claim that women are consistently marginalized within democratic ideas and institutions. Carole Pateman puts it more forcefully (1989: 210): "For . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.