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Globalising Democracy Without a State: Weak Public, Strong Public, Global Constitutionalism


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2002 by SAGE Publications
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Globalising Democracy Without a State: Weak Public, Strong Public, Global Constitutionalism


The usefulness of Dewey's conception of a public for contemporary International Relations (IR) theory lies in its explication of an expanding network of problem-solving communities (`deliberative democracy'). The idea of a weak and deliberative public endowed with growing moral influence fits well with the globalisation of communicative media and attention to human rights. Still, inclusive discussion and deliberation combined with political protest movements do not amount to egalitarian democracy. The latter presupposes not only the right to free expression but also constitutional access to processes of representation and decision making. Against the emerging background of global law, this article investigates the question of whether global society has a constitution, and gives a twofold answer. While global society can be said to have a constitution with respect to constitutive core elements of equal rights, it lacks a strong public as well as a democratic constitution. However, the existing global weak public can be optimistically interpreted as a `strong public in the making'. This interpretation corrects the institutional and legal weakness of Deweyan pragmatism, lending his notion of a public some new relevance for IR.
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