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Democracy: critiquing a Eurocentric history

Isakhan, Benjamin 2015, Democracy: critiquing a Eurocentric history, in APSA 2015 : Proceedings of the 2015 Australian Political Studies Association Conference, Australian Political Studies Association, Canberra, A.C.T., pp. 1-14.

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Title Democracy: critiquing a Eurocentric history
Author(s) Isakhan, BenjaminORCID iD for Isakhan, Benjamin orcid.org/0000-0002-5153-7110
Conference name Australian Political Studies Association. Conference (2015 : Canberra, A.C.T.)
Conference location Canberra, A.C.T.
Conference dates 28-30 Sep. 2015
Title of proceedings APSA 2015 : Proceedings of the 2015 Australian Political Studies Association Conference
Publication date 2015
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Australian Political Studies Association
Place of publication Canberra, A.C.T.
Keyword(s) Democracy
History
Politics
Summary This paper sets out an ambitious critique of contemporary political scientists, political historians and others concerned with the history of democracy. It argues that overwhelmingly the history of democracy relies on an overtly Eurocentric narrative that emphasizes the keystone moments of Western civilization. According to this narrative, democracy has a clear trajectory that can be traced from ancient experiments with participatory government in Greece and to a lesser extent in Rome, through the development of the British parliament, the American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution, and then finally onto the triumphant march of the liberal model of democracy across the globe over the last 200 years, particularly under Western tutelage. Histories of democracy that focus exclusively on these events not only privilege Europe and its successful colonies, but also miss the broader human story of the struggle for and achievement of democracy.This presents us with a distinct challenge. For those whose heritage does not include a direct link to Greek assemblies, the American Congress or the French Revolution, the ‘standard history of democracy’ provides a distant and exclusive narrative, which limits one’s ability to embrace democracy. This paper concludes by noting that, as democracy spreads out across the world today, political scientists not only need to break down the intellectual orthodoxy that democracy has exclusively Western roots, but also to embrace a more global view of democracy as a political practise that has been present at various times and in sometimes unfamiliar ways in the complex histories and rich cultural traditions of most of the people of the earth.
Language eng
Field of Research 160602 Citizenship
160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Socio Economic Objective 940201 Civics and Citizenship
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2015, APSA
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30079037

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Alfred Deakin Research Institute
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.