To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The introduciton opens my exploration of Cicero’s notion of will. I argue that the will is an original Latin contribution to the Western mind. Cicero’s letters, speeches, and treatises show how his skill for language gave him a subtler take on events and a richer repertoire of persuasion. Practical uses of will are foremost: mapping alliances, winning elections, and navigating the “economy of goodwill.” From his earliest writings, however, voluntas emerges in normative claims about law and politics: that Rome’s mass of precedents could be rationalized through Greek ideas. Chief among these is Plato’s precept that reason must rule, and thus an alliance of philosophy and tradition can save the dying Republic. Transmuting political failure into philosophical innovation, Cicero lays the foundation for an idea – the will and its freedom – with tremendous consequences for Western thought. For Cicero, voluntas populi becomes the binding force of a nominally popular but functionally aristocratic constitution. If this state of affairs looks familiar in today’s “democratic” republics, we have Cicero in part to thank. Insistence on the singularity of popular will and mistrust of the common citizen lie at the heart of today’s political crisis and will require Ciceronian creativity to fix.
I propose that the young Roman orator Cicero, lacking a political base, cleverly positions himself as defender of the “people’s will”: It is fundamental, justifying all power wielded in its name; it is singular, despite the many conflicting “wills” within it; it is fallible, especially when misled by demagogues; and it is thus dependent on wise elites like Cicero. I then take up the treatises De republica and De legibus, which argue for popular sovereignty and against popular power. His theory differs from the mixed constitutionalism of Polybius and Aristotle. Cicero’s innovation is rational trusteeship: The people own all of the Republic, and the senate and magistrates represent all of the people. The trusteeship principle from Roman law (ius civilis), filtered through Platonic rationalism and Stoic natural law, creates an entirely new constitutional dynamic: A rational elite guides the people’s will, which elevates them in turn to high offices of state. He watches Caesar exploit his notion of voluntas populi to remake Rome around his own brutal will. Yet it is Cicero’s “will of the people” – reliant on a ruling class, limited to voting – with which, for better or worse, we find ourselves in modern democracies.
This chapter explores the place of compromise in transitional justice. While all-pervasive in politics, compromise is a neglected topic, almost a non-topic, within the current transitional justice literature. The chapter is an attempt to reverse this tendency and rehabilitate the notion of compromise. If, as pluralists hold, we are often faced with cases of hard moral choices where, whatever we do, something of value is irreparably lost, then the best we can hope for is some kind of acceptable compromise between clashing goods. The question about the limits of compromise thus features centrally in this chapter. How far should transitional societies go in their willingness to compromise? When is a compromise acceptable, fair, guided by principle, and when is it rotten to the core, simply illegitimate? To what extent is it acceptable to compromise deeply held values such as justice and truth for the sake of other equally important values such as, say, civil peace and democracy? While doubtful that we can settle such issues once and for all, the chapter identifies a range of questions that should be part of the collective conversation about when a political compromise is acceptable and when it is not. The discussion begins, however, with a concrete historical figure, the communist leader Joe Slovo, who played a critical role in South Africa’s negotiated transition from apartheid to democracy. Slovo’s reflections on the nature and limits of compromise in the South African context serve as a central reference point for my discussion throughout this chapter.
The third edition of U.S. and Latin American Relations offers detailed theoretical and historical analyses essential for understanding contemporary US-Latin American relations. Utilizing four different theories (realism, liberal institutionalism, dependency, and autonomy) as a framework, the text provides a succinct history of relations from Latin American independence through the Covid-19 era before then examining critical contemporary issues such as immigration, human rights, and challenges to US hegemony. Engaging pedagogical features such as timelines, research questions, and annotated resources appear throughout the text, along with relevant excerpts from primary source documents. The third edition features a new chapter on the role of extrahemispheric actors such as China and Russia, as well as a significantly revised chapter on citizen insecurity that examines crime, drug trafficking, and climate change. Instructor resources include a test bank, lecture slides, and discussion questions.
Research on the welfare state often examines social policies in democratic regimes separately from social policies in authoritarian regimes. Two bodies of research have emerged, as the extant literature views these political systems as sufficiently distinct to merit the division of analysis. In this article, we challenge the existing approach by showing that differing regime types can indeed be analysed together. By looking for patterns of similarities, rather than differences, we bring the two literatures into conversation and show how a common factor can trigger social policy expansion in both regime types. Using case studies of India and China, the two most populous democratic and authoritarian regimes, this article illustrates how the expansion of policies that serve low-income groups – India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) and China’s Minimum Livelihood Guarantee Scheme (dibao) – were both prompted by social mobilisation.
This chapter analyzes different fields of Buddhist constitutionalism in contemporary Myanmar, arguing for expanding the study of Buddhist constitutionalism to include “secular” civil law and the Penal Code, which prima facie promote equality between religious and ethnic groups. Thus, the key regulatory issue at stake is not only sangha affairs, but also the privileging of Buddhism vis-à-vis other religions in a wide array of policies and state law. This broad approach opens up for identifying multiple aspects of Buddhist constitutionalism, such as unwritten or “living” forms of Buddhist constitutionalism, in addition to its political forms and manifestations. This practice of Buddhist statecraft is, however, challenged by ethnic and religious minority communities in Myanmar. After the 2021 military coup, the democratic opposition in its new “Federal Democracy Charter” declared an end to Buddhist constitutional privileges, while the military junta positions itself as the protector of Buddhist constitutionalism as enshrined in the 2008 Constitution.
The collapse of the Weimar Republic and the ensuing rise of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany serve to this day as a “warning from history.” The precise lessons to be drawn from this episode remain controversial. Did the first German republic collapse from a lack of popular support or from institutional weakness? These questions were far from the minds of Republican elites. Arnold Brecht and Hans Staudinger regarded problems of stability as primarily administrative. Territorial reform and the creation of public–private partnerships were their creative attempts creating some much-needed breathing space for the young Republic. These initiatives tell us much about the reasons why elites overestimated the robustness of their own institutions. At the same time this ill-founded confidence was necessary for such administrative experiments. Paradoxically, assuming stability can be important in encouraging elites in new democracies to engage in necessary reforms. The administrative rationale also had a dark side, however. It led to a myopic focus on technical detail while ignoring the larger political context and in particular, underestimating the systemic threat from political extremism.
The final chapter discusses the long-term prospects for the Earth, including demographic changes that are likely to have important long-term implications for humanity, such as the overall decrease in the birth rate, the trends towards increasing literacy, and the importance of educating and empowering women as a factor in the economic progression of societies (perhaps the strongest predictor of economic success in a society). It reviews some of the confounding influences retarding world progression (e.g. our inherent bias towards short-term decision-making, especially in the context of debates over responses to climate change), and how some societies have helped address them successfully. In general, much of human history is the struggle between our impulses and our intellect, and there are innumerable instances of historical ‘failure’, but trends generally point towards improved economics and human rights over the long-term arc of human history.
The Enlightenment represents the first time since Democritus that philosophers began to systematically question religious explanations for material phenomenon, instead looking for strictly materialistic explanations that were consistent with our understanding of the temporal plane. In particular, this is when science began to challenge the power of the Western religious authorities, which also challenged the principle of rule by divine right. In addition to the appearance of religious skepticism and scientific explanations, this is the period when revolutions against inherited rule challenged the kings and queens of Europe. This period is also associated with a dramatic increase in literacy in Western countries, which makes an interesting contrast with, for example, China, where the complexity of the written language served as an obstacle to higher rates of literacy for several centuries. In general, high rates of literacy are inversely correlated with institutional power and correlated with personal liberty in citizens. The worldwide spread of democracy over the last 200 years is a direct result of intellectual changes associated with the Enlightenment, but the chapter also reviews why the transition to democracy has not been universal.
Today, most societies are grappling with debates over how to create public narratives of belonging that reflect multicultural societies without alienating powerful cultural majorities. Yet the impossibility of neutral national narrative should not lead the state to forego investment in a shared national narrative. Citizens may disagree upon policies or principles, but they need shared values and attachments which can be called upon to mitigate polarizing debates within nation-states. This chapter argues that state-sponsored investment in a shared, inclusive and pluralizing national identity is one of the most important ways of creating the symbolic public good of national belonging.
This book tells an overlooked story in the history of the will, a contested idea in both politics and philosophy of mind. For it is Cicero, statesman and philosopher, who gives shape to the notion of will as it would become in Western thought and who invents the idea of 'the will of the people'. In a single word – voluntas – he brings Roman law in contact with Greek ideas, chief among them Plato's claim that a rational elite must rule. When the republic falls to Caesarism, Cicero turns his political argument inward: will is a force to win the virtue in the soul that was lost on the battlefield, the marker of inner freedom in an unfree age. Though his vision of a free republic failed in his time, Cicero's ideal of rational elitism has shaped and fractured the modern world – and Ciceronian creativity may yet save it.
This chapter focuses on the origins of the institutions that would evolve into the European Union. Norman argues that a focus on perceptions of fragility provides a fruitful but underexplored perspective on the creation of the early institutions of European postwar political cooperation. The design of these institutions were informed by perceptions of fragility associated with democratic governance. The conventional functionalist story of the EU, where cooperative institutions were set up to prevent new conflicts between the formerly warring countries, while not inaccurate, obscures how the reconstruction of the European political order was also an answer to the breakdown of European democracy before the war. Notions of democracy’s fragility informed the functionalist perspective on politics as well as the perceived for a ‘militant’ protection of democratic institutions. Apart from shaping the origins of the European political order, the chapter argues that perceptions of fragility have continued to inform the institutional development of the EU and even ongoing efforts to strengthen its democratic aspects.
Liberal democracy arguably requires a sense of equal membership in a shared society, and in today’s world, this “shared society” is inextricably linked with ideas of nationhood. Defenders of majoritarian nationalism worry that this sense of membership in a shared national society is being eroded by multiculturalism, and argue that we must instead reaffirm the centrality of shared national identities, perhaps through “majority rights.” In this chapter, I argue that while the idea of a shared society is indeed important for liberal democracy, and that it will inevitably reflect ideas of nationhood, this is in fact an argument for strengthening, not weakening, multiculturalism and minority rights. The fact that membership claims are filtered through the lens of nationhood creates a series of formidable “membership penalties” for minorities. A robust commitment to multiculturalism and minority rights can be seen, not as a threat to the ideal of equal membership in a shared society, but as a remedy for membership penalties, and as a way of building a more inclusive ethics of membership.
Many rich democracies witness a rising tide of populism. With very few exceptions, populist parties have scored electoral successes and often entered national parliaments. In Poland and Hungary, for example, populist parties dominate the respective party system, and in Austria, the FPÖ was part of the previous government coalition. For the first time since the fall of the Nazi regime, a right-wing populist party entered the Bundestag after the 2017 general election in Germany. The most spectacular instance of populist success is probably the presidency of Donald Trump, who won the 2016 US presidential election to the surprise of many observers. Even where populist parties are less successful on Election Day, they sometimes have a strong impact on policies. Brexit is just the most far-reaching example. In reaction to the rise of populism, a wealth of research has emerged. It deals with the most suitable definition of populism, the programmatic outlook of populist parties, supportive attitudes or the social base of the populist vote. Despite the richness of this research, we argue that most approaches to the study of populism fail to integrate fully the insights on unequal representation that have emerged in recent years.
In this chapter, the philosopher Mathias Risse reflects on the medium and long-term prospects and challenges democracy faces from AI. Comparing the political nature of AI systems with traffic infrastructure, the author points out AI’s potential to greatly strengthen democracy, but only with the right efforts. The chapter starts with a critical examination of the relation between democracy and technology with a historical perspective before outlining the techno skepticism prevalent in several grand narratives of AI. Finally, the author explores the possibilities and challenges that AI may lead to in the present digital age. He argues that technology critically bears on what forms of human life get realised or imagined, as it changes the materiality of democracy (by altering how collective decision making unfolds) and what its human participants are like. In conclusion, Mathias Risse argues that both technologists and citizens need to engage with ethics and political thoughts generally to have the spirit and dedication to build and maintain a democracy-enhancing AI infrastructure.
Democracy requires factual information and an attentive electorate. The electorate are a key part of a functioning democracy, where they choose between candidates, parties, and policies based on their own political beliefs, which are influenced by information. Because the world of politics is complex, human beings are bounded in their capabilities for decision making and must develop strategies to navigate through an overwhelming amount of political information to form beliefs and make decisions. Political belief systems – or “ideologies” – help people organize this complex political world. However, a large portion of the American public do not have a coherent political belief system, and instead rely on cues and elites to make decisions and form attitudes on the issues of the day. This kind of reliance is efficient, but can also lead people to become vulnerable to mis- and disinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories, and extreme polarization, which can have detrimental consequences for democracy.
On January 6, 2021, angry supporters of the outgoing president, Donald Trump, stormed the US Capitol building, harassed members of Congress and staff, and mocked democratic symbols. The protestors violently expressed a widespread sentiment among Republican voters that the election was rigged, and that Joe Biden should not be sworn in as the new president of the United States. If democracy depends on the support of those who voted for the losing party to accept the result of the election as legitimate, the events on Capitol Hill showed that this “losers’ consent” (Anderson et al., 2005) is crumbling. Although the degree of polarization in the United States is severe, other advanced democracies face similar challenges. A substantial number of citizens feel that the political system has deep flaws, that politicians have lost touch, and that political decisions do not reflect the preferences of the majority anymore. The chapters in this book highlight the pervasiveness of these problems across a variety of institutional and political settings well beyond the United States.
Many scholars have sounded an alarm about the extent of unequal representation in advanced democracies.1 In Democracy in America? Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens (2017, 68) conclude, “average citizens exert little or no influence on federal government policy” (italics in original). Researchers studying the UnitedStates (Bartels 2008; Gilens 2005; Gilens 2011; Gilens and Page 2014; Gilens 2016; Jacobs and Page 2005; Jacobs and Skocpol 2005; Page and Gilens 2017), Germany (Elässer, Hence, and Schäfer 2017), the Netherlands (Schakel 2019), and other countries (Giger, Rosset and Bernauer 2012) have reached similarly stark conclusions. This research, which finds that those in the upper 10 or 20 percent of the income distribution dominate the policy making process at the expense of those at and below the economic middle, has had a profound influence on academic literature, the media, and even political discourse.2
Pacts or “social contracts” form the basis of sovereignty in many early modern theories of political authority, and in Pufendorf’s too. Most such theories treat the pact as the means by which a pre-existing right—for example, divine right, or the natural right of individuals grounded in their strength, reason, or property—is transferred to a sovereign on the condition that the right be protected, to be rescinded if it is not. For Pufendorf, however, there is no pre-existing right since the sovereignty pact creates a new right—the right to issue unchallengeable commands for the purposes of achieving social peace—by instituting two new moral personae: the citizen who obeys the sovereign in exchange for protection, and the sovereign invested with the right of absolute command to provide social peace. Since Pufendorf’s sovereignty is constituted not by a prior moral right, but rather by the capacity to exercise unchallengeable authority for the end of social peace, there is no naturally rightful form of government. Pufendorf thus takes a neutral and pluralistic view of the three traditional forms of government—monarchical, aristocratic and democratic—insofar as each is capable of exercising the capacity for sovereign rule.
Our scholarly understanding of “representative democracy” is often defined by two major actors: voters and the representatives they elect. This two-way interaction of democratic governance has its perils. And the critiques of this type of governance have been multifaceted. Just to name a few, not all members of the public have an opportunity to engage in the electoral process to elect representatives. In addition, elected officials of representative democracies often ignore minority concerns in the hope to capture majoritarian preferences voiced by voters. Robert Dahl (1989) astutely points out that there is actually no nation that meets all the requirements of a true democracy, which should consist of inclusiveness, enlightened understanding, equal participation, equal say, and citizens’ control of the agenda. What many nations have managed to achieve is representative democracy – an inferior second choice. Others have encouraged an expansion of our understanding of representation. Saward (2006), for example, argues that the acceptance or rejection of representative claims provides another way for scholars to understand representation that moves beyond elections and political parties.