After the Cold War ended, liberal democracy was taken for granted. Now it is in crisis: citizens distrust parliamentary politics, the people’s parties are losing members and votes, and social media are crowding out public debates. Challenging the sense of despair that informs recent studies on how democracy dies, Till van Rahden argues that it might prove more useful to explore what keeps it alive. A focus on democratic forms and aesthetics allows us to explore the social foundations of democracy. No matter how stable a democracy may seem, it will wither and perish without ways of life that allow for and encourage democratic experiences.
Till van Rahden is Professor of German and European Studies at the Université de Montréal. He specializes in European history since the Enlightenment and is interested in the tension between the elusive promise of democratic equality and the recurrent presence of differences and moral conflicts. He recently published Demokratie: Eine gefährdete Lebensform (Frankfurt/New York, 2019). In 2016 he was a Visiting Fellow at the IWM.