ASTK15613U  SUMMER15: Micro- and Macro democracy - Democratic perspectives for the future

Volume 2015/2016
Education

Master level: 7.5 ECTS 
Bachelor level: 10 ECTS 

Content

About the summer school

Something is happening to national, representative democracy. The highly acclaimed configuration of the people and the nation-state, which for two centuries have provided democratic regimes with legitimacy, accountability, efficiency and problem-solving capabilities is challenged by new political problems, new emerging identities and new forms of political participation, deliberation and contestation. In this course we will engage with two of most promising innovations within democratic thought – micro and macro democracy – and the political problems, which they seek to address.

What happens to democracy, when people no longer feel represented by their national representatives? What happens to democracy, when political problems become globalised and non-state actors such as NGO’s and multinational companies possess huge influence and power? How can democratic theory respond to challenges of declining legitimacy, financial crises and new regional and global structures of decision-making?

The course will begin by providing the diagnosis, namely that national democracy is in deep crises, and that it no longer provides basic democratic legitimacy and efficiency. It then process to the various democratic uprisings and innovative experimentations with micro democracy, which followed the financial crisis of 2008. We will engage with new forms of democratic participation in the local neighbourhood assemblies in Greece and Spain (especially the Indignados), the direct democratic decision-making of the Occupy Movement and the communal councils and participatory budgeting of various countries in Latin America. In all these cases, we will ask which democratic promises and potentialities these attempts at local self-government provide.

The section half of the course will engage with questions of macro democracy in the of era post-national democracy, especially in relation to the EU. We will discuss questions of what representation, accountability and deliberation means in a post-national public sphere, and how post-national democracy within the EU can provide answers to both the democratic apathy of the national democracy, but also enhance the political efficiency in relation to transnational political problems.

The course will end with a synthesis of the two democratic perspectives (micro and macro, local and regional), and a discussion of future democratic federalism below, besides and beyond the nation-state.  

 

Themes and format

The summer school  will combine different pedagogical elements.

Lectures: The lectures will give an introduction to the assigned literature.

Class discussions: Each lecture will be followed by a class based discussion where either a case or a theoretical problem will be debated. It is therefore essential that the students are prepared and have read the assigned literature.

Student presentations: The course will end with a round of student presentations. The students can present individually or in groups. The presentations should touch on a puzzle related to the themes of the summer school. Presentations could for example be in the form of a disposition for a master thesis on micro/macro democracy, a suggestion for a research design and case study, or a theoretical puzzle touching upon the nuances of the course literature. The student presentations aim at encouraging the students to continue the work in democratic  theory by discussing and evaluating their ideas for future projects. 

 

Overview of the summer school:

Section 1: Introduction to the crisis of national democracy

  • Declining legitimacy (participation, deliberation)

  • Declining capability (Globalization of problems, transnational interests, global market)

Section 2: Micro-democracy

  • Local self-government

  • The politics of protest

Section 3: Macro-democracy

  • Questions of representation and accountability – Democracy in a post-national constellation?

  • The problem of identity, public sphere, and deliberation

Section 4: Combining Micro and Macro democracy – Democratic perspectives for the future

Learning Outcome
  • Present different political theoretical theories on micro- and macro democracy

  • Deploy and combine normative democratic theory on specific cases

  • Evaluate the validity of different theoretical positions

  • Evaluate the tradition of participatory democracy’s influence on and resonance for current democratic contestations and experiments

  • Critically evaluate the challenges  and opportunities facing  national liberal democracies through active engagement with perspectives from democratic theory

       

Tentative suggestions for literature:

  • Bohman, James (2007) “From demos to demoi”, The MIT Press, Cambridge
  • Benhabib, Seyla (2006) “Another Cosmopolitanism”, Oxford University Press, Oxford
  • Habermas, Jürgen (2012) The Crisis of The European Union – A Response, Polity Press, Cambridge
  • Pettit, P.  (2006) Democracy, national and international. The Monist Vol. 89 Issue 2, pp. 301-324
  • Rosavallon, Pierre (2006) Democracy – Past and Future, Columbia University Press, New York
  • Saul Newman (2014), ’Occupy and Autonomous Political Life’ i Radical Democracy and Collective Movements Today, pp. 93-109. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Astra Taylor, (2012) Occupy and Space og Occupy: The Next Step https:/​/​nplusonemag.com/​online-only/​occupy/​occupy-and-space/​, https:/​/​nplusonemag.com/​online-only/​occupy/​the-next-step/​.
  • Alain Badiou, Immediate Riot, Historical Riot, Event and Truth. http:/​/​daily-struggles.tumblr.com/​post/​75990967013/​immediate-riot-historical-riot-event-and-truth-by.
  • The Invisible Committee (2009), The Coming Insurrection, pp. 97-132. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).
  • Oscar Olivera (2004), Cochabamba: Water War in Bolivia, pp. 117-141. Cambridge: South End Press.
  • Ivan Krastev (2014), Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Press.
  • Sitrin, Marina & Dario Azzellini (2014): They Can’t Represent Us: Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy.
The summer school will combine different pedagogical elements.

Lectures: The lectures will give an introduction to the assigned literature.

Class discussions: Each lecture will be followed by a class based discussion where either a case or a theoretical problem will be debated. It is therefore essential that the students are prepared and have read the assigned literature.

Student presentations: The course will end with a round of student presentations. The students can present individually or in groups. The presentations should touch on a puzzle related to the themes of the summer school. Presentations could for example be in the form of a disposition for a master thesis on micro/macro democracy, a suggestion for a research design and case study, or a theoretical puzzle touching upon the nuances of the course literature. The student presentations aim at encouraging the students to continue the work in democratic theory by discussing and evaluating their ideas for future projects.
Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual seminar assignment
Exam registration requirements

75% parcipitation

Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Evaluated by the lecturer with passed/not-passed

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28