ABSTRACT

In liberal modernity, the democratic collective will of society was understood to emerge through the public and deliberative freedoms of associational life. Today, however, democratic discourse (as discussed in the previous chapter) is much more focused on the formation of plural and diverse publics whose participative importance is in the private and social sphere. In these approaches, central to resilience-thinking and the governance of complexity, democracy is no longer seen to operate to constitute a collective will standing above society but as a mechanism to enable the responsive and adaptative capacities already possessed by individuals and communities, as the ultimate decision-makers. Government is brought back ‘to the people’, and democracy is seen to circulate through the personal decisions made in everyday life. This chapter seeks to analyse the development of resilience-thinking in relation to the political sphere and highlights how these approaches overcome the rationalist assumptions of the public/private divide, paying particular attention to the work of two key liberal political theorists, John Dewey and Friedrich Hayek.