Solidarity in Diverse Societies
Liberal democracies in the “populist” age are increasingly defined by polarization, and many observers fear that liberal democracies are having trouble accommodating diversity and protecting the rule of law and the integrity of their elections. This course will explore how these societies can better accommodate diversity and preserve liberal democracy. It will consider patriotism and nationalism, as well as arguments that seek to empower citizens with the techniques of “political friendship” required to manage difference and disagreement. This course will then conclude by considering alternative perspectives, such as Carl Schmitt’s argument that liberal democracies can only secure solidarity and stability through hypocrisy – that liberal democracies can only sustain themselves by designating an “other” or an “enemy” against whom the political community must always be prepared to potentially wield political violence.
Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, The Strains of Commitment; Cass Sunstein, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America; Yael Tamir, Why Nationalism; Eric Kaufmann, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities; Jan-Werner Müller, What is Populism?; Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince; Jürgen Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other; David Miller, Liberal Nationalism; George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By; Danielle Allen, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education; Sibyl Schwarzenbach, On Civic Friendship; Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone; Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America; Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference; William Connolly, The Ethos of Pluralization; Chantal Mouffe, For a Left Populism; Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (subject to change)
Format and Requirements
Class participation; three essays (subject to change)