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Many democracies are today gripped by institutional convulsions and bitter theoretical disputes. Political thinkers and citizens have noted how significant positive transformations are happening, for instance in the renewal
Many democracies are today gripped by institutional convulsions and bitter theoretical disputes. Political thinkers and citizens have noted how significant positive transformations are happening, for instance in the renewal of civil society, the growth of new forms of self-organised citizen participation and public exposures of corrupt power.
But there are dark sides of the present, threatening trends that are undermining the role of citizens and their representatives in political decision making. In various languages and many different contexts, more than a few journalists, activists, critics and even some politicians now speak of the ‘kidnapping’ of democracy. They point to the many ways in which decisions about who gets what, when and how are being monopolised – kidnapped by ‘elites’ who are restricting, even destroying, the capacity of citizens and their representatives to act politically. Public reflection on the whole idea of the kidnapping of democracy remains limited, among both scholars and citizens alike. That is why this seminar sets out to reflect on the meaning of kidnapping, and why the concept is helpful in understanding contemporary political trends. It examines where and why the term surfaced, whether a typology of different forms of kidnapping is needed, and how the notion of the kidnapping of democracy can help us imagine and formulate new ways of preventing dangerous concentrations of power.
Speaker: Ramón Feenstra is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Sociology at the Universitat Jaume I de Castelló, Castellón de la Plana, Spain. His research is centred on civil society, monitory democracy, new communication tools and the ethics of communication. He is the author of Democracia monitorizada en la era de la nueva galaxia mediática (Icaria, 2012) and Ética de la publicidad. Retos en la era digital (Dykinson, 2014).
(Wednesday) 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Sydney Democracy Networksdn@sydney.edu.au