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Introduction: Crisis and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

  • Benjamin Isakhan
  • Steven Slaughter
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  • 270 Downloads

Abstract

Recent years have seen near constant reports on the failures of governance and the crisis of democracy. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) from 2008 onwards saw many of the world’s strongest economies and most robust democracies teeter on the edge of collapse. This crisis led to other financial crises such as the European sovereign debt crisis which emerged in late 2009. As governments took unprecedented steps to bail out the financial sector, many began to question the relationship between representative democracy and the global capitalist free market system along with the forms of national and global governance which support this economic model. In response to these crises, a series of popular grassroots movements and protests emerged across both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, the Occupy Wall Street movement attempted to challenge the power of the financial system and levels of economic inequality in advanced democracies, while across Europe anti-austerity protests indicated, among other things, a wide dissatisfaction with EU interference in domestic politics, especially in Greece and Portugal where EU and IMF bailouts were imposed without clear public mandates. These crises and the public responses they produced have forced many scholars, leaders and policymakers to ask difficult questions about the power of governance to trump democracy during times of crisis.

Keywords

Civil Society Global Financial Crisis Global Governance Citizen Participation Representative Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Benjamin Isakhan and Steven Slaughter 2014

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  • Benjamin Isakhan
  • Steven Slaughter

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