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Higher Seminar in Statecraft and Strategic Communication | Sofia Näsström

Democracy and the Social Question: Sharing Uncertainty in Uncertain Times


Abstract: There is a broad consensus in political theory that one should exclude the social from the concept of democracy. The best thinkers think so. Haunted by the spectre of twentieth century socialism, they argue that including the social in the concept of democracy is antithetical to democracy; it satisfies material needs at the expense of political freedom, it confuses democracy with the ideological substance of politics and/or it reduces democracy to bureaucracy. I think they are mistaken, and this book is an attempt to explain why. The central thrust is that by defining democracy as a political lifeform that pivots on uncertainty, it is possible to integrate the social in the concept of democracy without falling prey to said dilemmas.

Bio: Sofia Näsström is Professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. She specialises in political theory, and has written on topics as the state, legitimacy, the people, representation and precarity. Recent publications include The Spirit of Democracy: Corruption, Disintegration, Renewal (Oxford University Press 2021) and Demokrati. En liten bok om en stor sak (Historiska Media 2021), under tr. Her next monograph is entitled Democracy and the Social Question: Sharing Uncertainty in Uncertain Times.  

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