Alexis de Tocqueville is widely cited as an authority on civil society, religion, and American political culture, yet his thoughts on democratization outside the West and the challenges of a globalizing age are less known and often misunderstood.
This collection of essays by a distinguished group of international scholars explores Tocqueville’s vision of democracy in Asia and the Middle East; the relationship between globalization and democracy; colonialism, Islam, and Hinduism; and the ethics of international relations. Rather than simply documenting Tocqueville’s own thoughts, the volume applies the Frenchman’s insights to enduring dilemmas of democratization and cross-cultural exchanges in the twenty-first century. This is one of the few books to shift the focus of Tocqueville studies away from America and Western Europe, expanding the frontiers of democracy and highlighting the international dimensions of Tocqueville’s political thought.
“These essays offer a stimulating dialogue about the enduring relevance of Tocqueville’s ideas to our present debates on the future of democracy across the globe. The diversity of viewpoints convincingly demonstrates that the greatness of Tocqueville lies in the critical and sophisticated lens through which he analyzed the multiple facets of modern democracy.” – Aurelian Craiutu, Indiana University, Bloomington
“A richly varied and authoritative set of essays authored by an array of fine scholars. It takes Tocqueville scholarship into new and original areas of investigation, applying his ideas and insights to questions of central importance in our contemporary world. For the first time we see how Tocqueville’s thinking can help us make sense of the emerging democratic and international order of the twenty-first century. And, as always, Tocqueville has much to teach us.” – Jeremy Jennings, Queen Mary University of London
“Under the tutelage of two outstanding guides, a talented array of scholars offers astute, novel, and penetrating considerations of a global Tocqueville. Wide-ranging in space and time, this uncommonly thoughtful collection deepens our understanding of democracy – just as Tocqueville would have wished – both as a political regime and as an egalitarian social form.” – Ira Katznelson, Columbia University
About the Author
Richard Boyd is Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on liberalism, international ethics, and the history of political philosophy. He is the author of Uncivil Society: The Perils of Pluralism and the Making of Modern Liberalism (2004).
Ewa Atanassow is Assistant Professor at ECLA of Bard, a liberal arts university in Berlin. Her research focuses on democracy and nationhood, and on the intersection of ethics, psychology, and politics in the liberal tradition of political thought.