No Global Demos, No Global Democracy? A Systematization and Critique

Perspectives on Politics 12 (4):789-807 (2014)
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Abstract
A globalized world, some argue, needs a global democracy. But there is considerable disagreement about whether global democracy is an ideal worth pursuing. One of the main grounds for scepticism is captured by the slogan: “No global demos, no global democracy.” The fact that a key precondition of democracy—a demos—is absent at the global level, some argue, speaks against the pursuit of global democracy. The paper discusses four interpretations of the skeptical slogan—each based on a specific account of the notion of “the demos”—and concludes that none of them establishes that the global democratic ideal must be abandoned. In so doing, the paper (i) systematizes different types of objections against global democracy, thus bringing some clarity to an otherwise intricate debate and (ii) offers a robust but qualified defense of the global democratic ideal.
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