"Democracy as civilisation"

Christopher Edward Hobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracy has come to embody the very idea of legitimate statehood in international politics. It has done so largely through defining a new standard of civilisation, in which "democraticness" determines the limits of international society and helps to construct relations with non-democracies "beyond the pale". Like the "classical" standard, this new version again reflects a considerable interest in the socio-political organisation of states. Central in this shift back to a more "anti-pluralist" international society has been the democratic peace thesis, which emphasises how the internal (democratic) characteristics of states influence their external behaviour. Against more optimistic interpretations, it is argued that the democratic peace is a distinctly Janus-faced creature: promoting peace between democracies, while potentially encouraging war against non-democratic others. Within the democratic peace, non-democracies become not just behaviourally threatening but also ontologically threatening. Non-democracies are a danger because of what they are (or are not). In sum, the argument presented is that democracy, positioned as the most legitimate form of domestic governance in international society, has become caught up and used in global structures of domination, hierarchy and violence. Thus, the role of "democracy" in international politics is much more complicated, and, at least in its current guise, less progressive than often portrayed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-95
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Society
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

civilization
democracy
peace
International Politics
political organization
violence
statehood
domination
Berlin
governance
interpretation
society
Society
international politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

"Democracy as civilisation". / Hobson, Christopher Edward.

In: Global Society, Vol. 22, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 75-95.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hobson, Christopher Edward. / "Democracy as civilisation". In: Global Society. 2008 ; Vol. 22, No. 1. pp. 75-95.
@article{3a60f40fb1524d3682c6757b320a4110,
title = "{"}Democracy as civilisation{"}",
abstract = "Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracy has come to embody the very idea of legitimate statehood in international politics. It has done so largely through defining a new standard of civilisation, in which {"}democraticness{"} determines the limits of international society and helps to construct relations with non-democracies {"}beyond the pale{"}. Like the {"}classical{"} standard, this new version again reflects a considerable interest in the socio-political organisation of states. Central in this shift back to a more {"}anti-pluralist{"} international society has been the democratic peace thesis, which emphasises how the internal (democratic) characteristics of states influence their external behaviour. Against more optimistic interpretations, it is argued that the democratic peace is a distinctly Janus-faced creature: promoting peace between democracies, while potentially encouraging war against non-democratic others. Within the democratic peace, non-democracies become not just behaviourally threatening but also ontologically threatening. Non-democracies are a danger because of what they are (or are not). In sum, the argument presented is that democracy, positioned as the most legitimate form of domestic governance in international society, has become caught up and used in global structures of domination, hierarchy and violence. Thus, the role of {"}democracy{"} in international politics is much more complicated, and, at least in its current guise, less progressive than often portrayed.",
author = "Hobson, {Christopher Edward}",
year = "2008",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1080/13600820701740746",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "75--95",
journal = "Global Society",
issn = "1360-0826",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - "Democracy as civilisation"

AU - Hobson, Christopher Edward

PY - 2008/1

Y1 - 2008/1

N2 - Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracy has come to embody the very idea of legitimate statehood in international politics. It has done so largely through defining a new standard of civilisation, in which "democraticness" determines the limits of international society and helps to construct relations with non-democracies "beyond the pale". Like the "classical" standard, this new version again reflects a considerable interest in the socio-political organisation of states. Central in this shift back to a more "anti-pluralist" international society has been the democratic peace thesis, which emphasises how the internal (democratic) characteristics of states influence their external behaviour. Against more optimistic interpretations, it is argued that the democratic peace is a distinctly Janus-faced creature: promoting peace between democracies, while potentially encouraging war against non-democratic others. Within the democratic peace, non-democracies become not just behaviourally threatening but also ontologically threatening. Non-democracies are a danger because of what they are (or are not). In sum, the argument presented is that democracy, positioned as the most legitimate form of domestic governance in international society, has become caught up and used in global structures of domination, hierarchy and violence. Thus, the role of "democracy" in international politics is much more complicated, and, at least in its current guise, less progressive than often portrayed.

AB - Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracy has come to embody the very idea of legitimate statehood in international politics. It has done so largely through defining a new standard of civilisation, in which "democraticness" determines the limits of international society and helps to construct relations with non-democracies "beyond the pale". Like the "classical" standard, this new version again reflects a considerable interest in the socio-political organisation of states. Central in this shift back to a more "anti-pluralist" international society has been the democratic peace thesis, which emphasises how the internal (democratic) characteristics of states influence their external behaviour. Against more optimistic interpretations, it is argued that the democratic peace is a distinctly Janus-faced creature: promoting peace between democracies, while potentially encouraging war against non-democratic others. Within the democratic peace, non-democracies become not just behaviourally threatening but also ontologically threatening. Non-democracies are a danger because of what they are (or are not). In sum, the argument presented is that democracy, positioned as the most legitimate form of domestic governance in international society, has become caught up and used in global structures of domination, hierarchy and violence. Thus, the role of "democracy" in international politics is much more complicated, and, at least in its current guise, less progressive than often portrayed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=37849004972&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=37849004972&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/13600820701740746

DO - 10.1080/13600820701740746

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:37849004972

VL - 22

SP - 75

EP - 95

JO - Global Society

JF - Global Society

SN - 1360-0826

IS - 1

ER -