Democracy field notes

Democracy field notes

Posts (1 - 10 of 73)

The European Madhouse

Last week’s visit to Berlin, peppered by many intensely interesting conversations, convinced me of one thing: Europe is beginning to resemble a political madhouse. Jan Zielonka’s brief but brilliant Is…

June 4th 1989: Silence, Power and Politics

‘Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent’, wrote the young Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Tractatus (1921). The words are now famous, but in matters of politics the elegant last-sentence formula…

The End of Representative Politics?

The following notes on the future of democratic representation were inspired by Simon Tormey’s The end of representative politics (2015), launched at a Gleebooks event organised by the Sydney Democracy…

Why Read Tocqueville’s Democracy in America?

The following remarks on a famous work by Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 - 1859) were presented as a lecture to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Scholars Program at the University of Sydney, 24th April…

Behave Like Sheep! Happy New Year Hong Kong!

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive C.Y. Leung rang in the Lunar New Year earlier this week with a noteworthy speech urging the citizens of Hong Kong to change their ways. Renowned for his calculated frankness…

Greece – the Moment of Dignity

During the past three years, several anguished and rather melancholy ‘Democracy Field Notes’ tried to analyse the causes of the Greek crisis and the terrible pain and misery unfairly inflicted on many…

The European Fear of Islam, from Paris to Dresden

On the day I left for home after an extended research stay in Europe and the Persian Gulf, news broke of the terrible attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. I suddenly felt sickened and shaken…

Taiwan’s Great Choosing Day

This is the final contribution to a five-part series of field notes covering the background dynamics and global significance of last Saturday’s fiercely fought ‘nine-in-one’ elections in Taiwan. The great…

Taiwan: A Great Choosing Day is Coming (Part 4)

This is the fourth in a series covering the background and dynamics of last Saturday’s fiercely fought ‘nine-in-one’ elections in Taiwan. The great choosing day in Taiwan is just hours away and it is no…