By Jean-Paul Gagnon (auth.)
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Additional info for Democratic Theorists in Conversation: Turns in Contemporary Thought
It does not particularly matter where a name comes from and it does not particularly matter who first thought of a particular institution that now happens to bear it. What does matter is how names and institutions commence, and more or less corrective ideas enter into the awareness and motivation of other human beings over time (a dynamically interactive process). I think you can see quite a lot of John Keane’s book as a somewhat uneconomical and under-focused venture of that kind. I do not think you could write a serious history of that process, though you might have many different stories, going off in different directions.
11 there are only three conversations which are arguably in majority targeting what we should be doing. From the literature, there are numerous examples of turns towards the new. Turns that reflect the new theory or that demand new theory to emerge. One example is the observed emergence of transnational constellations of citizenries (Edwards and Gaventa, 2001; Münch, 2001). These are forming ‘global civil society’. Although historians have shown that transnational ties have existed for centuries (Eckstein and Terpstra, 2010), these ties have not existed in the way they do today.
But then you can think of democracy on a much larger scale as a representative system and some representative systems as we know institutionalize the use of formal procedures like referendums and so on. Some have a more Burkean view of the role of the representatives, but all of these I think are legitimately characterized as democracies of some sort. This is in the sense that the collective decision of public policy tracks 30 The Changing History of Democracy 31 in a systematic way what it is that is a balance of opinion within the community.