Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski
1. Introduction (Florian Bieber / Magdalena Solska)
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Florian Bieber and Magdalena Solska
Moments of crisis reveal exactly how diverse the democratic world is. Its rules and values are not necessarily homogenous; they have different traditions and undergo different interpretations. We talk about democracy, rule of law, social justice and freedom, and understand them through the prism of these different traditions and historical experiences. John Ikenberry (2018), while writing about the crisis of liberal internationalism, stated that the unity of the West constituted an “artefact”, lasting as long as the hegemony of the United States persisted. The same could be said about the concept of the “enlarged Europe”, bound to last as long as the dominance continues of the European Union, which enforces a kind of homogeneity of different traditions, experiences, and above all, interests. We live in a moment of crisis, not only of the liberal international order, but also of liberal democracy, which appears fragile and increasingly polarized, vulnerable to far-right populism and backlash politics (Ikenberry, 2018).
A democratic decline has thus been deemed a global phenomenon. In the 1990s, Peter Mair and Richard Katz pointed to the alarming development of the cartel party, oriented more towards the state rather than its voters. A waning popular engagement in the political process, lower levels of electoral participation, declining levels of party membership, a fading sense of attachment or identification with conventional political alternatives have become prevalent in many western democracies (Mair, 2006). The remoteness of...
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