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State of Democracy Lecture Series(2)

Maxwell Auditorium

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State of Democracy Lecture Series Presents Laura Nader, Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley “If you want to spread democracy you have to be one” Although we only rarely contemplate the meaning of American democracy in the United States, the word democracy is in frequent usage especially by contrast- “we have democracy, they need democracy;” “we support the only democracy in the Middle East.” More thought provoking however are the contrasts made between democracy and empire, or between the republic and the empire, although even in those contexts usage is blurred and sometimes subsumed into the other as with neoliberalism and democracy, or “democracy of business” where salesmanship and statesmanship are overlapping. But from a We the People’s point of view (as versus academics, business, or politicians), the view may be more closely allied to Founder’s notions of democracy. Social historians and anthropologists might ground democracy as practiced in everyday life lived in these United States, more in fit with citizens’ practicing democracy at the local level sometimes at odds with abstract scholarship on the subject. Such democratic practice may be perceived as a threat OR as the strength of a democracy in contemporary jeopardy.

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