The Conundrums of Globalization and Legal Pluralism

Guillermo O'Donnell

in Democracy, Agency, and the State

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199587612
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723384 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

The Conundrums of Globalization and Legal Pluralism

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This chapter begins with a personal anecdote that has sustained the author's scepticism about narrowly individualistic or excessively culturalist conceptions of democracy, as well as of the view of a uniquely better kind of democracy these conceptions lead to. In addition, it acknowledges that the conception of agency and its grounding of democracy generates complex issues in terms of both the extensive globalization of the present world and of the subsistence of legal pluralism. Although the chapter is unable to propose clear cut solutions to such issues (including the ones raised under the banner of the ‘war on terrorism’), it takes side, not without some important caveats, with authors who argue for the universalism of the rights entailed by human agency, including gender ones. As to globalization, after noting significant pros and cons, especially in relation to countries outside the Northwest, the argument is that, even though deeply transformed in several respects, the state continues to be of crucial importance. The chapter concludes with a statement of the minimal standards that despite their diversity, any democracy should be expected to meet.

Keywords: globalization; legal pluralism; international relations; culture; varieties of democracy; quality of democracy; gender rights

Chapter.  8357 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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