Pragmatism and Democracy in a Global World



This chapter discusses the advantages of a pragmatist theory of democracy for understanding the political relevance of new phenomena such as the emergence of forms of private authority and transnational movements in tackling with global issues. The chapter shows in particular that the pragmatist notion of ‘publics’ offers promising insights and proves particularly promising for completing the transition from methodological nationalism to methodological cosmopolitanism that is required to understand the emergence of new normative orders and the unfolding of new normative practices developing at the global level and to inquire into their conditions of validity. The chapter discusses the contribution of political pragmatism to the critique of methodological nationalism and proceeds then to examine and reject the three major alternative approaches to global politics—constitutional cosmopolitanism, transnational public sphere theory, and global representation theory—showing why they fail to overcome methodological nationalism. The last two sections explore private entrepreneurial authority in contexts of global governance and show that pragmatism succeeds in explaining their political role, while the other three approaches fail.


Pragmatism International relations Public sphere Nonstate actors Political consumerism Private authority Transnationalism Global democracy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Marc BlochBerlinGermany

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