Nation Against Democracy: The Rise of Cultural Nationalism in Asia

  • Radhika Desai
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Discussions of democracy are usually bloodless, fleshless affairs.1 The focus is on things like institutions, constitutions, electoral systems, bills of rights, charters of freedoms and what-not; modular prefabricated components of a structure which can be assembled and built anywhere. One gets very little sense of the local social, political, economic and cultural condition in which these democratic institutions and practices must surely be embedded. Indeed, particularly in its post-1989 version, the discourse of democracy has been supplemented with its own, almost equally modular, discourse of the necessary social ambience for democracy, its potting soil as it were: the discourse of civil society. ‘A set of diverse non-governmental institutions which is strong enough to counterbalance the state and prevent it from dominating and atomising the rest of society’ (Gellner 1994: 5), civil society’s own health determines, we are told, that of democracy and, in post-1989 conditions, the malingering of democracy in the former communist countries, or parts of newly democratic Africa or Asia, is usually traced to a less than robust civil society.


Civil Society National Culture Liberal Democracy Capitalist Society Capitalist Modernity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Radhika Desai

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