Open Access (free)

Cinema, democracy and perfectionism

Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue

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Edited by: Joshua Foa Dienstag

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.

Open Access (free)

Democratic inclusion

Rainer Bauböck in dialogue

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Edited by: Rainer Bauböck

This book addresses the major theoretical and practical issues of the forms of citizenship and access to citizenship in different types of polity, and the specification and justification of rights of non-citizen immigrants as well as non-resident citizens. It also addresses the conditions under which norms governing citizenship can legitimately vary. The book discusses the principles of including all affected interests (AAI), all subject to coercion (ASC) and all citizenship stakeholders (ACS). They complement each other because they serve distinct purposes of democratic inclusion. The book proposes that democratic inclusion principles specify a relation between an individual or group that has an inclusion claim and a political community that aims to achieve democratic legitimacy for its political decisions and institutions. It contextualizes the principle of stakeholder inclusion, which provides the best answer to the question of democratic boundaries of membership, by applying it to polities of different types. The book distinguishes state, local and regional polities and argues that they differ in their membership character. It examines how a principle of stakeholder inclusion applies to polities of different types. The book illustrates the difference between consensual and automatic modes of inclusion by considering the contrast between birthright acquisition of citizenship, which is generally automatic, and naturalization, which requires an application.