chapter  8
21 Pages

The Politics of the Subject

ByAlain Touraine

People generally have taken two different approaches to defining democracy: For some, democracy is a matter of giving form to the sovereignty of the people. Political democracy, according to Burdeau, has been replaced by social democracy and the triumph of the actual people. Given the weakness of what Burdeau calls consensual democracy and the passivity of citizens in a consumer society dominated by great commercial, technical, and administrative organizations, we must attempt to reconcile the idea of social rights with that of political liberty. The modern world must recognize that the globalization of the economy and culture implies cultural pluralism. A national society that is culturally homogeneous is by definition antidemocratic. Democracy is indispensable if liberty is to succeed in managing the relationship between rationalization and identities. Democracy is no more reducible to negative liberty, or protection against arbitrary power, than to a form of citizenship that integrates and mobilizes individuals.