By Charles Kurzman
In the last decade prior to global conflict I, a wave of democratic revolutions swept the globe, eating greater than 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants. Revolution reworked Russia, Iran, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Mexico, and China. In each one case, a pro-democracy flow unseated a long-standing autocracy with startling pace. The nascent democratic regime held elections, convened parliament, and allowed freedom of the click and freedom of organization. however the new governments failed regularly to uphold the rights and freedoms that they proclaimed. Coups d’état quickly undermined the democratic experiments.
How can we account for those unforeseen democracies, and for his or her fast extinction? In Democracy Denied, Charles Kurzman proposes that the collective agent so much at once chargeable for democratization used to be the rising type of contemporary intellectuals, a bunch that had received an international identification and a near-messianic feel of undertaking following the Dreyfus Affair of 1898.
Each bankruptcy of Democracy Denied specializes in a unmarried attitude of this tale, protecting all six circumstances by way of reading newspaper bills, memoirs, and executive stories. This completely interdisciplinary remedy of the early-twentieth-century upheavals grants to reshape debates concerning the social origins of democracy, the explanations of democratic cave in, the political roles of intellectuals, and the overseas move of ideas.
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Additional resources for Democracy Denied, 1905-1915: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy
4 News of the Dreyfus Affair was followed intently by educated people around the world. Thousands wrote letters of support to Dreyfus and his family. ” In the Ottoman Empire, the sultan was reportedly concerned that the scandal might encourage the Ottoman opposition. ” In Spain, where virtually “all the literate men” of Barcelona signed a manifesto in support of Zola, the term intelectuales gained currency almost immediately. ” In Egypt, a leading Islamic modernist reported on the difficulties of the French ‘uqala, an Arabic Intellectuals and the Discourse of Democracy | 27 term for rational intellectuals, as contrasted with religious scholars.
The details of these revolutionary transitions generally bear out the observation I made in my last book, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran Introduction | 23 (2004), that in moments of revolutionary confusion, people replace their old routines with new paths based largely on estimates of what they think others will do. They join the revolution when they think others are going to join, and if enough people make the same calculation at the same time, revolution occurs. If not enough people do so, then the revolutionary movement fizzles.
They may not have been workers or owners, but they had to make a living too, as writers, teachers, lawyers, and so on. Two narratives emerged in the nineteenth century about the material interests of the intellectuals. The first, generally marshaled by rightists, involved the overproduction of intellectuals. In this view, expanding educational opportunities were churning out graduates faster than jobs emerged to employ them, creating a mass of anomic, overeducated rabble-rousers. 10 A second narrative, more congenial to intellectuals themselves, concerned the working conditions of the intellectuals.
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