Chapter

Social Context, Options, and Convergences<sup>1</sup>

Guillermo O'Donnell

in Democracy, Agency, and the State

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199587612
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723384 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587612.003.0010

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

Social Context, Options, and Convergences1

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Previous chapters have pointed out the issue of the social and legal conditions for the exercise of citizenship; this chapter returns to this matter from a broader perspective of the overall social context. The consequent discussion of options available and potential improvements in highly unequal countries leads to the discovering of an important convergence: one constructed from a similar view of agency in the conception of democracy here defended with the views of both human rights and human development currents. This matter leads to a return to the issue of the kind of social context and non-individualistic conception of rights that may be congenial to democracy and its eventual expansion. Some rather vexing issues are examined, leading to the conclusion that, even if by itself it is far from a panacea, one should stand in dubio pro democracy as the best avenue for expanding agency-consistent options.

Keywords: capabilities; human rights; human development; Amartya Sen; agency; social context

Chapter.  7054 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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