Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement


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These purposes are grounded in the belief that the right of people to take part directly in making decisions that affect their lives and to guide their own destiny is a fundamental human right. Triggering questions:. What are the major problems confronting our species within the context of our global society? What is the role of the New Agora project in addressing societies problems?

What would be the design of a "New Agora" that would serve as an evolutionary guidance system for world peace? How could the "New Agoras" contribute to the conscious evolution of the human species? In what ways can the "New Agora" serve humanity through creating and sustaining civil society?

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See Jenlink, Bela H. As we are looking here for diverse, distributed "communities" and the challenges of exclusion and dis-embodiment virtual realities this Book from. Cyberspace as Toy or Orientation Support? LaDonna Harris was absent. Also in attendance were Diane Conaway and Ken Bausch. The Agora Project: the New Agoras of the twenty-first century. Patrick M. Banathy 2. It is a further refinement of the CogniScope and sometimes goes under different names, as the Indigenous Leadership Interactive System, for example, in adapting it to different circumstances. In these co-laboratories, people of diverse cultures, ideologies, and agendas engage in structured dialogue; focus on common concerns, decide on practical priorities; and craft consensual actions plans.

Globalization is being described by many as an emerging new system of world order that has accelerated following the end of the Cold War order in Systems thinking must make clear what is being eliminated and what constructed by globalization. We must rise to the challenge of democratizing the processes of conscious evolution to ensure that globalization empowers all peoples and not just elites. Dialogue is essential for understanding cultures and subcultures in the emerging global village.

Boundary-spanning dialogue across disciplines and civilizations, if conducted wisely, can generate democratic agreement on the courses we must pursue to create agoras and avoid Big Brother. Thus, the ability to engage in dialogue becomes one of the most fundamental and most needed human capabilities.

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Dialogue becomes a central component of any model of conscious evolution. Dialogue was practiced very effectively in the agoras of Ancient Greece, like the one in Athens. The agoras were public spaces where people congregated and deliberated on their issues. If we want to democratize the emerging global village, we must provide agora-like places where people can engage in meaningful dialogue.

ISSS www. Concepts, laws and models developed in particular fields were to be investigated to see if they could be properly transferred to emerging phenomena which were less well conceptualized. The challenges of the 21st Century, associated with conscious evolution and globalization, demand the identification and general transmission of such concepts, laws and models in whatever field they were originally developed in order to enhance humanity's capacity to design the 21st Century Agoras.

Systems thinking remains the best hope for this to be achieved. ISSS will engage participants in earnest discussion and structured dialogue on topics such as the following: Defining what a democratic global discussion might look like agora as process ; Describing what a global village achieved by an effective global discussion might look like agora as product ; Exploring how local discussions as processes and agoras as product might come about; Making explicit what thinking globally and acting locally means for individuals and groups within ISSS; Fashioning ISSS into a model functioning agora; Deciding how ISSS can become organized for influencing the course of globalization; Discovering how to enhance the practice of boundary-spanning dialogue across disciplines and civilizations.

Conference Objectives:. Unfortunately the essential 2 nd volume was published only 5 years after the late Bela Banathy passed away and so many of original thoughts and intentions are not covered. Maybe a 3 rd Volume of Springer Publishers is good idea to follow up. Before I forget, I recommend:. Search this site. Magic Roundtable - OpenForum. Public Speech as Media Infrastructure for Democracy.

Just as Charles Tilly said the world is teeming with grievances, so now we can see the world is teeming with social movements. The problem is not their existence but their persistence which can be understood only by exploring their origins and their context.


  1. The Spooky Haunted Forest (Spooky Childrens Books Book 3).
  2. Extinction Agenda (Skinners);
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  4. The Bone Fire (a mystery of the shaman spirit world).
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  6. A new sociology for new social movements.
  7. Moving on from the Market Society: culture (and cultural studies) in a post-democratic age.

These were movements that transcended the pursuit of material interests characteristic of the old social movements specifically the labor movement. Written in , explaining the continued existence of capitalism but without denying its problematic character, The Great Transformation can be considered a revision of The Communist Manifesto written a century earlier. Polanyi argues that the experience of commodification is more profound and immediate than the experience of exploitation, which as Marx himself argued was hidden from those who were supposed to rebel against it.

For Polanyi, the source of resistance lies with the market rather than production. The expansion of the unregulated market threatens to destroy society which reacts in self-defense, what he calls the counter-movement against the market. For Polanyi labor is but one such fictitious commodity, the others are land and money. Today these factors of production are subject to an unprecedented commodification that even Polanyi never anticipated.

When labor is subject to unregulated exchange, i. The issue, therefore, is not exploitation but commodification. Indeed, as Guy Standing has eloquently demonstrated the problem today is the disappearance of guaranteed exploitation, and in its place the rise of precarity, not just within the proletariat but climbing up the skill hierarchy. Just as the separation of labor from land provides for the commodification of labor so it also provides for the commodification of land, which according to Polanyi also threatens the viability of the human species.

These prescient comments point to the inability of markets to defend the integrity of nature that accords well with recent arguments that climate change represents one of the biggest market failures of our time. When it comes to the plunder of nature, the destructiveness of markets has led to a host of struggles, especially in the Global South, from landless movements in Latin America to popular insurgency against Special Economic Zones in India, protests against land speculation and expropriation in China.

Throughout the world the mining of natural resources has generated militant opposition from communities whose livelihoods are threatened. It takes place within cities, too, against such processes as gentrification and the attempt to build global cities, both of which involve the expulsion of the marginal from their homes. We have to extend the commodification of land to the commodification of nature more broadly, the commodification of water that generated waters wars in countries as far apart as South Africa and Bolivia, protest against market solutions to climate change, so-called carbon trading, and most recently against fossil fuel extraction through fracking.

Polanyi regarded money as a third fictitious commodity. For Polanyi money is what makes market exchange possible, but when it itself becomes the object of exchange, when the attempt is to make money from money then its use value as a medium of exchange is undermined.

Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism

Polanyi was especially concerned that fixed exchange rates between currencies organized through the gold standard would create economic rigidities within national economies while going off the gold standard would create chaos and radical uncertainty. Today, we see how finance capital again becomes a prominent source of profit, making money from money, whether it be through micro-finance, whether it be loans to nation states, whether it be student loans or mortgages or credit cards.

The extraordinary expansion of debt eventually and inevitably brings about bubbles and just as inevitably their popping. The theorists of postindustrial society, preeminently Daniel Bell , recognized knowledge as an ever-more-important factor of production giving pride and place to the university as its center of production. But Bell did not anticipate the way the production and dissemination of knowledge would be commodified, leading the university to sell its knowledge to the highest bidders, biasing research toward private rather than public interests, cultivating students as customers who pay ever-increasing fees for instrumental forms of knowledge.

The university reorganizes itself as a corporation that maximizes profit not only through increasing revenues, but cheapening and degrading its manpower by reducing tenured faculty, increasing the employment of low-paid adjunct faculty which the university itself produces , outsourcing services, all the while expanding its managerial and administrative ranks. Any given movement may organize itself in the political realm, but its driving force lies in the experience of the articulation of these different commodifications.

There is no one-to-one relation between social movement and a given fictitious commodity, but each movement is the product of the relation among fictitious commodification. For the last 40 years we have been experiencing the intensified commodification extended ever more deeply into human life. The wave of protests that have arisen to challenge this round of marketization, however, do not yet add up to a Polanyian counter-movement that would contain or reverse marketization.

For that, there needs to be a far greater self-consciousness and vision among the participants, calling for a sociology for social movements. At the center of his recast sociological theory were social movements, making history themselves, what he called historicity. The sociologist was no longer outside society, studying its inherent laws of change, but inside society heightening the self-consciousness of movements in the fashioning of history. There was an underlying optimism that the galloping wild horse of capitalism could somehow be tamed and directed to human ends.

That has all disappeared. We are now living in an era in which markets run amok, devastating all that stands in their way.

A sociology for social movements must begin by understanding this period of unconstrained marketization. Yet, that is just what happened, starting in the middle s, developing on a global scale, leaving few spaces of the planet unaffected. The rising concern with globalization expresses the global reach of markets. But it is important to understand that this is not the first wave of marketization. These waves of marketization become deeper over time as their scale increases, but they also involve different combinations of the fictitious commodities. The counter-movement to first-wave marketization in the 19th century was dominated by the struggle to decommodify labor.

In England about which Polanyi writes this assumed the form of the factory movement, cooperatives, Owenism, trade union formation and the Labour Party. The local struggles, spread, melded together and compelled changes in state policy. The success of labor led to a crisis of capitalism, resolved through imperialist strategies and World War I which was followed by an offensive from capital, leading to the recommodification of labor.

The assault of the market spread to the loosening of constraints on international trade through currencies pegged to the gold standard that, in turn, led to uncontrollable inflation and the renewal of class struggles. The upshot was a variety of regimes that sought to regulate markets through the extension of social rights as well as labor rights.

These regimes whether social democratic, fascist, or Soviet lasted until the middle s at which time they faced a renewed and mounting assault from capital not only against the protections labor had won for itself but also against state regulation of finance, marked by the end of Bretton Woods. Indeed, we can see how the offensive against labor across the planet, but especially in the North, led to a crisis of overproduction that did not lead to a renewed Keynesian politics but to the financialization of the economy via the creation of new moneys that could be extended to individuals in the form of credit credit cards, student loans, and above all sub-prime mortgages , but also to enterprises and countries generating unprecedented levels of debt.

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Third-wave marketization has gone far deeper than second-wave marketization in the commodification of labor, nature and money. Moreover, to turn something into a commodity, requires first that it be disembedded from its social and political moorings. Labor had to be dispossessed from its supports in the state, peasants have had to be dispossessed from access to their land, people had to be dispossessed of access to their own body so that their organs can be sold. This dispossession requires, in short, the escalation of violence perpetrated by states on behalf of capital, and direct deployment of violence by capital.

Violence is at the heart of third-wave marketization in a way that Polanyi never anticipated. The production and dissemination of knowledge in the university has been commodified as a result of the forcible withdrawal of public funding. With important exceptions in such countries as Brazil, India and China, the university has had to become self-financing by selling the knowledge it produces to industry the growth of the collaboration of bio-medical sciences and pharmaceuticals , by seeking funds from donors and alumni, and above all by an exponential increase in student fees.

The major universities around the world are sacrificing their accountability to local and national interests as they are subject to world ranking systems that force them to follow the standards of the richest universities in the US. This program of rationalization brands the university as worthy or not of investment, working hand in glove with the commodification of the production and dissemination of knowledge which, in turn, generates new strategies for the commodification of labor, nature and finance.

The question now is whether the expansion of the market will generate its own counter-movement.

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It certainly generates multiple reactive movements, but when and how they will add up to a counter-movement is an entirely different matter. What relative autonomy the university possesses is rapidly evaporating in the face of its commercialization. We in the academy can no longer pretend to stand outside society, making it an external object of examination. Academics are irrevocably inside society and we, therefore, have to decide on whose side we are. The social sciences, however, do not form a homogeneous block.

Political science, concerned with political order, now aspires to be an extension of economics, reflecting the increasingly collusive relation between markets and especially finance capital and nation states. Of course, there are dissidents within both fields, and they play an important role, but the dominant tendency is the endorsement of market fundamentalism through the embrace of utilitarianism. Sociology, too, has not escaped efforts to turn it into a branch of economics, but the anti-utilitarian tradition within sociology from Marx, Weber and Durkheim all the way to Parsons, Bourdieu, feminism, and postcolonial theory are so well entrenched that economic models have made few inroads.

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Nor is this surprising as sociology was born with civil society, an arena of institutions, organizations and movements that are neither part of the state nor of the economy. But we should be careful not to romanticize civil society as some coherent, solidary whole as though it were free of exclusions, dominations, and fragmentations. Like civil society sociology looks two ways.

Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement
Democracy in the Making: The Open Forum Lecture Movement

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