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After Liberal Global Democracy: New Methodology for New Praxis

Journal article
Authors Jan Aart Scholte
Published in Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1674-0750
Publication year 2019
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords Democracy, Global democracy, Globalization, Anti-globalization, Liberalism, Neoliberalism
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Political Science


Liberalism is in trouble as a normative basis of world order, partly for its failure to deliver adequate democracy to contemporary globalisation. This article explores how new ideas and practices of democracy might underpin a future post-liberal world order. The discussion especially addresses methodological issues, on the premise that the way that global democracy is studied deeply affects the ways that it can be understood and enacted. To open space for more innovative thinking about people’s power in a global world, the article develops an approach which – in contrast to established liberal theorising – emphasises principles of diversity, reflexivity, and praxis. Drawing on experiences of implementing these principles in a six-year ‘Building Global Democracy’ programme, the article argues that such a methodology can generate different, imaginative and transformative notions. In particular, post-liberal reinventions of democracy could redefine the demos, incorporate non-modern institutions, deepen justice, and confront structural power hierarchies. To be sure, as the final section reflects, the formulation and implementation of post-liberal constructions of global democracy face considerable challenges. Yet, with no less than the future of a good society at stake, it is vital further to pursue such experiments in globality beyond liberalism.

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