Edited by John Clammer and Jonathan Vickery
In a time of huge religious, political and territorial conflict, the cultural dimensions of place, identity, values, and governance, are all too easily ignored. The last special issue of the Journal of Law, Social Justice and Global Development was concerned with Cultural Rights (Culture and Human Rights). The UN’s webpage on democracy states that “Democracy is a universally recognized ideal and… provides an environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights”. This special issue is given to the question of democracy. How have global cultural policies and development policies emerged in part through a quest for the “ideal” of democracy? How do cultural policies operationalise “democratisation” in development situations, or perhaps imagine alternative ideals of democracy, or simulate alternative forms of democratic life (participation, equality, liberty)? The 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, and then the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, both appealed to the values of democracy. But what form of democracy is most effective in their implementation? What happened to the discourse on democracy and development that featured milestone texts like the World Commission on Culture and Development’s Our Creative Diversity (1966), or Towards a Constructive Pluralism (UNESCO, 1999), or Boutros-Ghali’s The Interaction between Democracy and Development (UNESCO, 2002). What happened to the notion that cultural pluralism was a road to democratisation, and why do policies on multiculturalism no longer seem to promise a vibrant participatory “culture” of democracy for the brave new “globalised” world?