POLn4051 Liberal Democracy in Times of Crisis

Fakulta sociálních studií
podzim 2020
1/1/0. 6 kr. Ukončení: zk.
Vyučováno online.
Mgr. et Mgr. Jiří Baroš, Ph.D. (přednášející)
doc. Mgr. Pavel Dufek, Ph.D. (přednášející)
Mgr. et Mgr. Jiří Baroš, Ph.D.
Katedra politologie - Fakulta sociálních studií
Kontaktní osoba: Mgr. Lucie Pospíšilová
Dodavatelské pracoviště: Oddělení politologie - Katedra politologie - Fakulta sociálních studií
Út 14:00–15:40 U41
! POL604 Liberal Democracy in Crisis && ! NOW ( POL604 Liberal Democracy in Crisis )
Ability to read scholarly text in English; willingness to participate in in-class discussions.
Omezení zápisu do předmětu
Předmět je určen pouze studentům mateřských oborů.
Mateřské obory/plány
Cíle předmětu
We now regularly hear voices claiming that liberal democracy is in crisis. To be sure, dissatisfaction with various aspects of the liberal democratic polity has been present in political theory for decades, and more recent doubts about the state of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe represent but one offshoot. What is unique about the contemporary intellectual milieu, however, is the ever-growing uneasiness with liberal democracy as such, encompassing both its conceptual background and its institutional embodiments. To be sure, there are countless ways of approaching the topic, and our ambition in this course is decidedly not to cover everything that can be said about liberal democracy’s current ills. Rather, the course picks a particular perspective – that of normative political theory (or political philosophy) – and elaborates on several normative, conceptual and institutional pillars which have come under stress. Critical diagnosis of these issues should enable better understanding of what has gone wrong, as well as more robust rethinking and justification of liberal democratic rule. The second and related main goal of the course is to expand on an important current debate on the theories of public reason and public justification which are centrally concerned with the question of legitimacy of political rule under the conditions of diversity and disagreement. After looking briefly at how political theory may approach the current democratic malaise (session 2), the tension between democracy and constitutionalism will be addressed (part A, sessions 3–7). In the second half of the course, the concepts of public reason and public justification will be introduced, in order to see whether they can help us deal with the challenges to democracy, or whether such an approach is counterproductive, as critics claim (part B, sessions 8–11). We will close by discussing a searching critique of the current model of democracy, including liberalism as its intellectual prop.
Výstupy z učení
Upon completing the course, students will have a good grasp of some advanced debates in political theory about the crisis of liberal democracy and/or its fundamental elements. They will be able to analyse crucial theoretical concepts and positions (such as constitutionalism, the separation of powers, majority rule, human dignity, public justification and others) which we find at the heart of contemporary debates. Also, students will be able to critically evaluate the corresponding disagreements both in political and constitutional theory and within the wider public sphere. Students thus sharpen their ability to orientate themselves in the current intellectual milieu, without succumbing to simplifications, strawman-like arguments, or general ignorance.
  • 1. Introductory session. Course mission, organization and essentials
  • 2. Crisis of Liberal Democracy as a Crisis in Thinking about Democracy?
  • A. Democracy and Constitutionalism
  • 3. Constitutionalism: Legal, Political and Democratic
  • 4. Separation of Powers, Populism and Technocracy
  • 5. Dignity v. Liberty. On Liberal and Dignitarian Traditions of Constitutional Law
  • 6. Discussion session I: Does populist constitutionalism exist?
  • 7. Self-Study Week (State Holiday)
  • B. Public Reason and Public Justification to the Rescue?
  • 8. Public Reason I: The Idea and Structure of Public Justification
  • 9. Public Reason II: Exclusive and Inclusive Models of Liberal Public Justification
  • 10. Liberal Critics of Public Reason
  • 11. The Natural Law Criticism of Liberalism
  • C. Alternative Voices
  • 12. Corporate Capitalism and Modern Democracy: Sheldon Wolin’s Political Theory
  • 13. Discussion session II: Topic to be specified
    povinná literatura
  • Eberle, Edward J. 2002. Dignity and Liberty. Constitutional Visions in Germany and the United States . New York: Praeger, 41 – 57.
  • Buchstein, Hubertus and Dirk Jörke ( 2007 ) : “Redescribing Democracy”. Redescriptions 11: 178 – 200.
  • Colón - Rios, Joel 2012. Weak Constitutionalism . London: Routledge, 17 – 34.
  • Gaus, Gerald (1996). Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory . Oxford: Oxford UP, pp. 237 – 245.
  • BLOKKER, Paul. New democracies in crisis? : a comparative constitutional study of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. First published. London: Routledge, 2014. xiii, 200. ISBN 9781138956414. info
  • LISTER, Andrew. Public reason and political community. First published. London: Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2013. 235 stran. ISBN 9781350005389. info
  • Understanding human dignity. Edited by Christopher McCrudden. 1st ed. Oxford: Published for The British Academy by Oxford University Press, 2013. xxxvii, 74. ISBN 9780197265642. info
  • WOLIN, Sheldon S. Politics and vision : continuity and innovation in Western political thought. Expanded ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004. xxiv, 761. ISBN 0691126275. info
  • TULLY, James. Strange multiplicity : constitutionalism in an age of diversity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. xvi, 253. ISBN 0521476941. info
  • Caramani, Danielle. 2017. “Will vs. Reason. The Populist and Technocratic Forms of Political Representation and Their Critique to Party Government”. American Political Science Review 111(1): 54–67
  • Baroš, Jiří, Pavel Dufek and David Kosař. 2020. “Unpacking the Separation of Powers”. In: Antonia Baraggia et al. (eds.), New Challenges to the Separation of Powers. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 123–142
  • Eberle, Edward J. 2002. Dignity and Liberty. Constitutional Visions in Germany and the United States. New York: Praeger
  • Billingham, Paul. “Convergence Justifications Within Political Liberalism: A Defence”. Res Publica 22(2): 135–153
  • Gaus, Gerald (2016). “Open Society and Its Friends.” The Critique January/February 2017
  • VALLIER, Kevin. Must politics be war? : restoring our trust in the open society. New York: Oxford university press, 2019. 243 stran. ISBN 9780190632830. info
  • Oxford studies in political philosophy. Edited by David Sobel - Peter Vallentyne - Steven Wall. First edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. 208 stran. ISBN 9780198841432. info
  • FERRETTI, Maria Paola. The public perspective : public justification and the ethics of belief. London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019. vii, 187. ISBN 9781786608727. info
  • Public reason in political philosophy : classic sources and contemporary commentaries. Edited by Piers Norris Turner - Gerald F. Gaus. First published. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018. viii, 403. ISBN 9780415855594. info
  • BARBER, N. W. The principles of constitutionalism. First edition published. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. xii, 276. ISBN 9780198808145. info
  • WENDT, Fabian. Compromise, peace and public justification : political morality beyond justice. [Switzerland]: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. x, 286. ISBN 9783319288765. info
  • WOLTERSTORFF, Nicholas. Understanding liberal democracy : essays in political philosophy. Edited by Terence Cuneo. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. xii, 385. ISBN 9780199558957. info
  • QUONG, Jonathan. Liberalism without perfection. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. viii, 330. ISBN 9780199594870. info
Výukové metody
in-class discussions
debate contests
reading and analysis of texts (position papers, final paper)
Metody hodnocení
(1) Position papers (0–4 points each, i.e. up to 12 points). Based on the readings, students are required to write at least three short position papers (ca. 250–500 words, i.e. 1–2 standard pages, each). If there are two or more required readings, students should briefly summarise all of them and then proceed to discuss, criticize etc. selected issue(s) (depending on one’s preferences). Based on their papers, students are thus encouraged to actively participate in the seminars. Position papers should be uploaded no later than Tuesday 10am to the Homework Vault (Odevzdávárna) folder.

(2) Final paper (0–16 points; approximately 4,000 words, i.e. 15 standard pages) which should deal with a topic relevant to the course. The topic should be consulted with either of the lecturers during their office hours. Components of evaluation (in no particular order): relevant goals and corresponding methods, robust theoretical background, clear conceptualisation of the problem, originality, systematic exposition, sufficient sources.
Deadline for submission: TBD; paper should be uploaded to the “Homework Vaults” (Odevzdávárna) folder in the Information system.

(3) In-class activity (0–1 point for each regular session, i.e. up to 9 points)

(4) Participation in two debate sessions. There will be two debate sessions during the term; students are required to take part in both (i.e. it is a necessary conditions for completing the course). For each session three groups will be created: the first one will answer the question in the positive and defend the corresponding position, the second one will take the opposing stance. The third group will preside over the contest and act as referees. Students will create groups no later than the end of the third week of the term.

The winning party will receive two points, the points received by losing party and referees will depend on their performace - degree of preparation, quality of argumentation, and so on.
For more detailed information please consult the course syllabus in the course folder within the Information system.

Grade scale: A 45–41; B 40–37; C 36–33; D 33–30; E 29–27; F 26 and less
Vyučovací jazyk
Další komentáře
Studijní materiály
Předmět je vyučován každoročně.
Předmět je zařazen také v obdobích podzim 2019.
  • Statistika zápisu (nejnovější)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/predmet/fss/podzim2020/POLn4051