Hivos International


In this paper, Ansari makes new meaningful connections between international contemporary academic debates on pluralism and democratic social transformation on the one hand and discourses circulating within Indian subaltern spaces on the other. Through a particular case study of ‘the pasmanda counterpublic’, Ansari aims to enrich the debates within civil society as well as open new possibilities for engagement with social change.

The Arab Spring: Common Roots, Common Challenges

Article By Mohamed Elagati

Ongoing revolutions in the Arab world signify another iteration of a process the world has witnessed before in various regions, including Southern and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Observers were wondering why the cloud of democracy passed over the Arab World without raining. This question led analysts to believe in what was called “Arab exceptionalism,” or the alleged incompatibility of the societies of the region with democratic development. This claim resonated with the conventional argument that Arab ruling elites used to justify their repressive policies against their own citizens on the grounds that ‘people are not ready for democracy.’ The Tunisian revolution came in early 2011 to refute these allegations and prove that the Arab peoples desire dignity and freedom as much as any other people.

Dance-athon in Syria

Unruly Politics in Syria

On December 19, The New York Times reports on an unusual musical approach in Syria to their uprising. Demands for change have been expressed through "catchy tunes and collective choreography, to the extent that mourners packing a street one day this month began to dance during a protester’s funeral, a conspicuous break from the traditionally somber ritual". Watch the video and read the whole story by Neil MacFarqhuar here.

A Dilemma of Democratic Citizenship

A transcript of the public lecture by James Tully

Citizenship in the West is understood as a status of the individual incorporating rights and duties. However, this understanding of citizenship can also be viewed as a democratic deficiency of modern citizenship. In May 2010 James Tully, professor at UVic, gave a public lecture on this topic called "A Dilemma of Democratic Citizenship". In this lecture he explains that the dilemma arises when citizens try to respond to four major local and global problems of public goods today.

Can Do-ocracy deepen democracy? An international perspective

A symposium by Hivos, ISS and the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy 6 December 2012

Around the world, a growing crisis of legitimacy characterizes the relationship between citizens and the institutions that affect their lives. Citizens speak of mounting disillusionment with government and the institutions of representative democracy. An age of ‘Global disaffect’ has produced an escalation of drastic citizen action that critically reflects on the changing role of the citizen in global politics. From the Arab spring to Occupy Wall Street. From anonymous to the Indignados , a new wave of mass mobilization swept the globe, stunning policy makers and observers alike. Amidst this turmoil, social media emerged as the alleged new magic bullet, changing the face and pace of citizen action.

Reflections on Citizen Action

Report of Symposium 'Can Do-ocracy deepen Democracy?'

Can do-ocracy deepen democracy? A question triggered by the development of a growing crisis of legitimacy that characterizes the relationship between citizens and the institutions that affect their lives, and the rise of a new generation of self-organizing citizens that operates outside the formal spheres of government.

Following the symposium Can do-ocracy deepen democracy? last December in The Hague, Hivos, ISS and WRR publish an online magazine: Can 'democracy by doing' deepen democracy?.

For the activist, the academic interested in power and politics, the development practitioner and the engaged citizen, these last couple of years have offered a veritable treasure of moments with which to re-imagine the world and the place of the ‘citizen’ in it, the relationships between rulers and the ruled, and the very meaning of ‘democracy’.