John Keane Lecture
Is Democracy Dying? Thoughts on the Present Crisis of Representative Democracy and the Importance of Hope in Dark Times
The UWA School of Social Sciences Annual Social Sciences Week Public Lecture by John Keane, Professor of Politics, University of Sydney.
Democracy urgently needs reimagining if it is to address the dangers and opportunities posed by current global realities, argues leading political thinker John Keane. He offers an imaginative, radically new interpretation of the twenty-first century fate of democracy.
In this talk Professor Keane discussed why the current literature on democracy is failing to make sense of many intellectual puzzles and new political trends. His talk focussed on a wide range of themes, from the growth of cross-border institutions and capitalist market failures to the greening of democracy, the dignity of children and the anti-democratic effects of everyday fear, violence and bigotry.
Professor Keane discussed the idea of ‘monitory democracy’ to show why periodic free and fair elections are losing their democratic centrality; and why the ongoing struggles by citizens and their representatives, in a multiplicity of global settings, to humble the high and mighty and deal with the dangers of arbitrary power, force us to rethink what we mean by democracy and why it remains a universal ideal.
John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), and Distinguished Professor at Peking University. He is renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy. He is the Director and co-founder of the Sydney Democracy Network. He has contributed to The New York Times, Al Jazeera, the Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Harper’s, the South China Morning Post and The Huffington Post. His online column ‘Democracy field notes’ appears regularly in the London, Cambridge and Melbourne-based The Conversation. Among his best-known books are the best-selling Tom Paine: A political life (1995), Violence and Democracy (2004), Democracy and Media Decadence (2013) and the highly acclaimed full-scale history of democracy, The Life and Death of Democracy (2009). His most recent books are A Short History of the Future of Elections (2016) and When Trees Fall, Monkeys Scatter (2017), and he is now completing a new book on the global spread of despotism.
This lecture is presented by the UWA School of Social Sciences and the Institute of Advanced Studies.
Professor Keane’s talk will be followed by discussion with scholars from UWA’s School of Social Sciences.