During the few months before the start of war against Iraq, many marches to protest against the USA foreign policy took place, even and maybe especially in countries whose government was officially supporting this policy. Many journalists talked about the ?emerging global civil society?. This concept however is not new. It is extremely important in the Cosmopolitan project of democracy, which actually comes from the Kantian tradition.
This project aims at achieving a world order based on the rule of law and democracy.
By civil society, I will refer not as the Kantian meaning which is in opposition to the state of nature, but to a more contemporary meaning, i.e. to the set of institutions, organisations and behaviour situated between the state, the business world, and the family. Specifically, this includes voluntary and non-profit organisations of many different kinds, philanthropic institutions, social and political movements and other forms of social participation and engagement.
[...] The main point is to say that citizens should participate in the debate over global problems, and latter, in decision-making. But is that possible? II) Toward a global civil society pushing for the achievement of the cosmopolitan project of democracy? The critics of cosmopolitanism seems to lead to the conclusion that there is not possible area for the emergence of a global civil society The problem of individualism For the model that I've just described to be possible, citizens have to commit themselves to global causes through trans-national associations. [...]
[...] She points out that identity within community is based on stories in which people believed. These stories create bounds among them. Therefore, she concludes, “what cosmopolitanism requires is a story about social changes and problems in world society or within states could affect individual self-understandings, thus encouraging new practices and relationships and how these in turn could provide the motivation for new political formation”. In short, if people believe in cosmopolitan democracy, this fate will create the necessary common identity to create it. And one can see that already, some do. [...]
[...] The danger is big: David Held democratic life involves no more than a periodic vote, ( ) few opportunities will exist for citizens to act as citizens; that is, as participants in public life”. So to build a cosmopolitan democracy in all levels (inside states, among states, and at a global level), we must focused as much on the restructuring of civil society as the reform of state power. David Held calls the interdependent transformation of both state and civil society the “double democratization”, which only will allow the “active citizen” to return to the centre of public life”. [...]
[...] Advocates of community, such as Sandel (Liberalism and the Limits of Justice) or Taylor (Politics of Recognition), insist that citizens have to identify themselves with their political community to be willing to accept sacrifices community entails. To our concern, that is the emergence of a global civil society, the communitarian critic is challenging b/c it stresses the point that a democratic society is closely linked to a common identity. It is not enough to have common problems; we have to share more in order to collectively act to solve these problems as Jana Thompson shows. [...]
[...] That is why the cosmopolitan project of democracy is a theory to be understood in the liberal conceptual framework. At this point we can feel that there is a need for a global government. But by looking at the form it could take, we see that we need to invent a model in which civil society plays an important role. A confederation will not enable to dialogue among citizen that force the represents confederation to defend the global interest and the interests of the community they're coming from (cf. [...]
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