Democratizing Democracy
Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon
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477 pages / August 2007 / 9781844671472

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July 2020 / 9781789603163

The first volume of the collection Reinventing Social Emancipation: Towards New Manifestos.

The major conflicts between the Global North and the South can be expected to result from the confrontation of alternative conceptions of democracy, mainly between liberal or representative democracy and participatory democracy.

The hegemonic model of democracy, while prevailing on a global scale, guarantees no more than low-intensity democracy. In recent times, participatory democracy has exhibited a new dynamic, engaging mainly subaltern communities and social groups that fight against social exclusion and the suppression of citizenship.

In this collection of reports from the Global South—India, South Africa, Mozambique, Colombia, and Brazil—De Sousa Santos and his colleagues show how, in some cases, the deepening of democracy results from the development of dual forms of participatory and representative democracy, and points to the emergence of transnational networks of participatory democracy initiatives. Such networks pave one of the ways to the reinvention of social emancipation.

This is volume 1 of the Reinventing Social Emancipation project, edited by Boaventura de Sousa Santos.


“At last, someone is putting concrete analysis on 'counter-hegemonic globalization from the bottom up.' Boaventura de Sousa Santos has assembled social scientists from Latin America, Africa, and Asia to describe another kind of democracy, full of lessons for the benighted countries of the North, where it should be mandatory reading for serious people.”

“In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher declared 'There is no alternative.' At the beginning of the 21st century the World Social Forum replied, 'Another World is Possible.' The project, Reinventing Social Emancipation, is a passionate and wide-ranging effort enriching our vision of that other world.”

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