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What Is Society?

  • Harry CollinsEmail author
  • Robert Evans
  • Darrin Durant
  • Martin Weinel
Chapter

Abstract

Societies are distinguished by what their citizens take for granted. In ‘Western societies’ most citizens agree, among other things, about the need for regular elections with near-universal franchises, how to treat strangers, the poor and the sick. These understandings are sedimented in the course of socialisation and constitute the organic face of societies; there is so much agreement that such things don’t usually feature in political manifestos. Citizens record more detailed, varying, and self-conscious choices in elections, giving rise to the enumerative face of societies. Populism deliberately confuses the enumerative face with the organic face. Citizens can make non-democratic leaders accountable only if they know what democracy means; this is the law of conservation of democracy.

Keywords

Nature of society Organic face Enumerative face Populism Conservation of democracy 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Evans
    • 1
  • Darrin Durant
    • 2
  • Martin Weinel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Historical & Philosophical StudiesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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