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Access_open Who is ‘we’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, we, world, self-government, democratic impulse
Authors Evert van der Zweerde
AbstractAuthor's information

    Which human material forms the real basis of a democratic polity, i.e. of the preconditions of a ‘we’ that inhabits a ‘world’? How is a political ‘we’ related to the ‘we’ that is created by systemic processes of subjectivization? These questions presents themselves with new relevance in a ‘globalized’ world, in which democratic spurts and waves spread from other parts of the world to the West, and in which the liberal-democratic rule of law state appears to be undermining its own moral preconditions. The real task ahead is to find out what ‘we’ denotes politically.


Evert van der Zweerde
Evert van der Zweerde is Professor of Political Philosophy at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Discussion

Access_open ‘We Are Also Here.’ Whose Revolution Will Democracy Be?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, public sphere, civil society, Arab Spring, feminism
Authors Judith Vega
AbstractAuthor's information

    Steven Winter’s argument is premised on a sharp contrast of individualist and social revolutions. I elaborate my doubts about his argument on three accounts, involving feminist perspectives at various points. First, I take issue with Winter’s portrayal of liberal theory, redirecting the focus of his concern to economic libertarianism rather than liberalism, and arguing a more hospitable attitude to the Kantian pith in the theory of democracy. Secondly, I discuss his conceptualization of democracy, adding the conceptual distinction of civil society and public sphere. Thirdly, I question his normative notion of socially situated selves as having an intrinsic relation to social freedom. I moreover consult cultural history on the gendered symbolics of market and democracy to further problematize Winter’s take on either’s meaning for social freedom.


Judith Vega
Judith Vega is Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open ‘Down Freedom’s Main Line’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, radical freedom, free market economy, consumerism, collective action
Authors Steven L. Winter
AbstractAuthor's information

    Two waves of democratization define the post-Cold War era of globalization. The first one saw democracies emerge in post-communist countries and post-Apartheid South Africa. The current wave began with the uprisings in the Middle East. The first focused on the formal institutions of the market and the liberal state, the second is participatory and rooted in collective action. The individualistic conception of freedom and democracy that underlies the first wave is false and fetishistic. The second wave shows democracy’s moral appeal is the commitment to equal participation in determining the terms and conditions of social life. Freedom, thus, requires collective action under conditions of equality, mutual recognition, and respect.


Steven L. Winter
Steven L. Winter is Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law at Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan.
Discussion

Access_open Political Freedom after Economic Freefall and Democratic Revolt

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords globalisation, civic tradition, Enlightenment, free-market economy, autonomy
Authors Tinneke Beeckman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Can globalisation lead to more democracy? And if so, what concept of freedom lies at the basis of this development? The ideal of liberal freedom, supposedly exercised by the autonomous, rational individual is no longer tenable. Finding a new way of interpreting self-rule beyond self-interested choice has become a crucial aspect of regenerating democratic spirit. This paper formulates three comments on Winter’s paper. The first comment concerns the resemblance between the attitudes of consumers and voters. A second comment reflects on the positive heritage of the Enlightenment. A third comment focuses on the recent Tahrir Square protests and reflects on the republican civic tradition.


Tinneke Beeckman
Tinneke Beeckman is postdoctoral researcher at the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders, University of Brussels.

    In this reply, Steven L. Winter adresses his critics.


Steven L. Winter

Irina Baraliuc
Irina Baraliuc is a PhD researcher at the Research Group Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Sari Depreeuw
Sari Depreeuw is a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Group Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and an attorney-at-law at the Brussels bar.

Serge Gutwirth
Serge Gutwirth is Professor at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and director of the Research Group Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS).
Article

Access_open The Collapse of the Rule of Law

The Messina Earthquake and the State of Exception

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords Messina, earthquake, state of exception, rule of law, progress
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Messina, a Sicilian town, was devasteted by an earthquake in1908. It was an hecatomb. Stricken through this unfathomable disgrace Messina’s institutions and civil society collapsed and a sort of wild natural state replaced the rule of law. In this situation there was a first intervention of the Russian Czarist navy who came to help but immediately enforced cruel emergency measures. The Italian army followed and there was a formal declaration of an ‘emergency situation.’ Around this event and the several exceptional measures taken by the government a debate took place about the legality of those exceptional measures. The article tries to reconstruct the historical context and the content of that debate and in a broader perspective thematizes how law (and morality) could be brought to meet the breaking of normality and ordinary life by an unexpected and catastrophic event.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Catanzaro in Italy and visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hull in England.
Article

Access_open Hoe neutraal is kerkfinanciering?

Kritische analyse van het Belgische erkennings- en ondersteuningsbeleid

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2012
Keywords liberalism, neutrality, church-state policy, (anti)perfectionism, Belgium
Authors Leni Franken and Patrick Loobuyck
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the authors explore how active state support for religions and worldviews could be in accordance with the principle of liberal neutrality. They focus on the Belgian church-state policy because this policy is characterised by an explicit and extended form of active support for recognised worldviews. If this policy is in accordance with liberal neutrality, some other, weaker forms of state support for religions and worldviews may also be in accordance with this neutrality principle. In the light of these considerations, the authors make some suggestions about possible ways to bring the Belgian church-state policy more in accordance with liberal neutrality.


Leni Franken
Leni Franken is a researcher at the Centre Pieter Gillis of the University of Antwerp, where she prepares a PhD on church, state and neutrality.

Patrick Loobuyck
Patrick Loobuyck is Associate Professor at the Centre Pieter Gillis of the University of Antwerp and guest professor at the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science at Ghent University.
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