We are living under the administration of fear: fear has become an environment, an everyday landscape. There was a time when wars, famines, and epidemics were localized and limited by a certain timeframe. Today, it is the world itself that is limited, saturated, and manipulated, the world itself that seizes us and confines us with a stressful claustrophobia. Stock-market crises, undifferentiated terrorism, lightning pandemics, “professional” suicides . . . . Fear has become the world we live in.
Voters often make irrational decisions based on inaccurate and irrelevant information. Politicians are often inept, corrupt, or out of touch with the will of the people. Elections can be determined by the design of the ballot and the gerrymandered borders of a district. And yet, despite voters who choose candidates according to the boxer–brief dichotomy and politicians who struggle to put together a coherent sentence, democracy works exceptionally well: citizens of democracies are healthier, happier, and freer than citizens of other countries.
In Critique and Disclosure, Nikolas Kompridis argues provocatively for a richer and more time-responsive critical theory. He calls for a shift in the normative and critical emphasis of critical theory from the narrow concern with rules and procedures of Jürgen Habermas’s model to a change-enabling disclosure of possibility and the enlargement of meaning.
Historical conflict no longer opposes two massive molar heaps, two classes—;the exploited and the exploiters, the dominant and dominated, managers and workers—between which, in each individual case, it would be possible to differentiate. The front line no longer cuts through the middle of society; it now runs through each one of us. . . "
"Society no longer exists, at least in the sense of a differentiated whole. There is only a tangle of norms and mechanisms through which THEY hold together the scattered tatters of the global biopolitical fabric, through which THEY prevent its violent disintegration. Empire is the administrator of this desolation, the supreme manager of a process of listless implosion."
—from Introduction to Civil War
On the eve of its fifth decade, the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories can no longer be considered a temporary aberration. Israel's control over Palestinian life, society, space and land has become firmly entrenched while acquiring more sophisticated and enduring forms.
Thirty years of "crisis," mass unemployment, and flagging growth, and they still want us to believe in the economy. . . . We have to see that the economy is itself the crisis. It's not that there's not enough work, it's that there is too much of it.
—from The Coming Insurrection
Democracy is not in steady state, and democratizations are open-ended processes; they depend on structures and functions in systemic contexts that idiosyncratically evolve in tone, tenor, direction, and pace over time. They affect and are affected by scores of determinants, both perceived and hypothetical. In interlinked chapters that span a number of disciplines, this volume reexamines the basic traits, the comparable outcomes, and the self-defining dynamics of some of the more widely attempted versions of democracy across the world.
This volume examines continuities and change in the normative underpinnings of both ancient and modern practices of political governance, public duties, private virtues, and personal rights and responsibilities. As such, it stands at the multi-disciplinary intersection between the practice of democratic citizenship and the exercise of political ethics.
Some philosophers conceive freedom as a state; others view it as an ideal. A songwriter sees it as a way of life: "Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free." The embattled statesman and the political idealist perceive causal links among personal freedoms, societal democracy, and global peace. In this cross-disciplinary volume, interlinked contributions reassess and rephrase the conceptualizations and theorizations of freedom and their applicability to daily life.