Democratic Theory

Die Grammatik der Freiheit

German political scientist Peter Graf Kielmansegg has a new book: Die Grammatik der Freiheit: Acht Versuche über den demokratischen Verfassungsstaat, published by Nomos Verlag, January 2013. Peter Graf Kielmansegg is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Mannheim. Book description: “Der demokratische Verfassungsstaat ist, so scheint es, aus den Kämpfen des 20. Jahrhunderts

Philip Pettit on Republican Approach to Economy

Philip Pettit has posted an article on OpenDemocracy: Taking back the economy: the market as a Res Publica Contrasting republican vs. libertarian view on property, he explains there the republican approach to economy. Excerpt: To bring out the conflict of images, consider the property conventions that establish the titles and rights of ownership. On the

José Luis Martí on Civic Republicanism

José Luis Martí (Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona) has published an article at Open Democracy, explaining the key elements of Civic Republicanism and the implementation of republican ideas in Spain during the government of José Luis Zapatero: Civic Republicanism: a North Star for hard times. José Luis Martí is co-author, with Philip Pettit, of A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic

New Book: ‘Von der Postdemokratie zur Neodemokratie’

German political scientist Klaus von Beyme contributes to the ongoing debate on post-democracy in Germany with his new book, titled Von der Postdemokratie zur Neodemokratie, published by Springer in January 2013. Klaus von Beyme is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg.  Table of Contents[PDF]  Decription: Der Autor hat die aktuelle Debatte über die

Seyla Benhabib: ‘Transnational Legal Spheres and the Construction(s) of Cultural Difference’

Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, presents her lecture, entitled “Transnational Legal Spheres and the Construction(s) of ‘Cultural’ Difference”. The lecture is followed by a Q & A session. The event was held on November 29, 2012, as part of the Graduate Center, CUNY 2012-2013 Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, “Democratic

New Book: ‘Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship’

Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship Edited by Sigal R. Ben-Porath and Rogers M. Smith. Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, December 2012. Description: In Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship, scholars from a wide range of disciplines reflect on the transformation of the world away from the absolute sovereignty of independent nation-states and on the proliferation…

New Book on Epistemic Democracy: ‘Democratic Reason’

Princeton University Press has released Hélène Landemore’s important work on epistemic theory of democracy; Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many. Landemore is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University and the book originated in her PhD dissertation at Harvard. See her publications here. Book Description: Individual decision making can often

New Book by Philip Pettit: On the People’s Terms

Cambridge University Press has published Philip Pettit’s new book, On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. The book contains the text of Pettit’s 2010 Seeley Lectures at Cambridge University. Philip Pettit is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University. Book Description: According to republican

Democratization, SAGE Four-Volume Set

Democratization – Four Volume Set Edited by Jean Grugel (University of Sheffield) Published by SAGE Publication, November 30, 2012. 1632 pages Description: Since the 1970s, the number of formally democratic states has grown exponentially while coherent alternatives to democracy have steadily diminished in terms of their global relevance. Yet, democracy remains an extremely problematic, conflictual

Constitution Making in the Arab Spring: Have Islamists Stolen the Revolution?

Chibli Mallat,Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, discussed the Islamist-dominated constitution making process in Arab Spring countries, on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Chibli Mallat also published a piece last week, criticizing Egypt’s draft constitution.




The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran announces the publication of Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights, available now at In this unprecedented collection of drawings, editorial cartoons, and portraits of human rights defenders, internationally acclaimed Iranian artists depict the pain and the resiliency of those in Iran who refuse to relinquish their rights, despite the Iranian government’s attempts to silence them.


After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration.


  • Iran: Prosecute Officials in Detained Blogger’s Death | Human Rights Watch →Iran’s judiciary should conclude a speedy, independent, and transparent criminal investigation followed by prosecution of those believed responsible for the death of the blogger Sattar Behesht. Beheshti died in the custody of Tehran’s cyber police in November 2012. Iranian officials should stop harassing his family and hampering their efforts to seek justice and ensure that those responsible for the blogger’s death are held to account. Although Beheshti died almost four months ago, there is no indication that the judiciary has concluded the criminal investigation into the officers accused of responsibility for his death, despite promises by officials that the case would be sent to the courts for prosecution before mid-February.
  • New report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran →”The Special Rapporteur assesses in this report that there continues to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Reports communicated by nongovernmental organisations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice. Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified.”
  • Resetdoc Videos: Andrew Arato on ‘The Arab Spring and Democratic Constituent Power’ →In order to create a new democratic political order the initial transformation process needs even more participation and a democratic constituent power, argues political scientist Andrew Arato at Reset-Dialogues’ Istanbul Seminars. Democracy making is a consensual process with an active input from civil society groups, and not just from elites. In Egypt this constituent democratic form never really emerged yet, also because the Brotherhood allowed the military to impose its own rules, asking for quick elections in return.
  • Wege zu einem authentischen Säkularismus, von Nader Hashemi – →”Zwei Jahre nach Beginn des Arabischen Frühlings bestätigt eine Reihe politischer Entwicklungen eine Behauptung aus meinem Buch “Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy” (2012). Darin argumentierte ich, dass in muslimischen Gesellschaften der Weg zur Demokratie, welche Biegungen und Wendungen er auch nevhmen wird, “nicht umhin kann, die Tore der religiösen Politik zu durchqueren”.”
  • Call for Iran to end house arrest of opposition leaders | →Six leading human rights organisations have called on Iran to end the “arbitrary” house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been cut off from the outside world for nearly two years without being put on trial.
  • Photo Essays: 50 Years of Women’s Right to Vote in Iran – →In 1963 – 50 years ago, women in Iran got the right to vote. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi allowed women to vote as one part of a broader reform program to modernize the country. Women’s voting rights in particular were granted in late January by way of a national referendum. Initially, the majority of Iranians stood behind the reform agenda known as the White Revolution. id-1963 brought heavy opposition to implementing the reform, and Iran’s spiritual elites were bitterly against the White Revolution. It was this context that propelled the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, who would go on to lead his own revolution.