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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Deliberative politics

The four people who read my coauthored book, Democratizing Global Politics, know that Nayef Samhat and I are proponents of "deliberative democracy."

Benjamin Barber (he blogs!) and (Lord!) Anthony Giddens are two prominent scholars who have influenced our work. Barber is known best for his writings about "strong democracy" and Giddens for his theory of structuration.

In any case, I was kind of surprised to read that these eminent political theorists were in the news -- because they were recently in Libya, debating political theory with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. For good measure, David Frost was there to moderate the discussion.

Gaddafi claims that Libya is ruled by "direct democracy," but the scholars called for a more open public sphere -- Gaddafi needs to allow a free press, free expression, and viable political opposition, for example.

Those are not exactly novel ideas, but this was a public debate with Gaddafi -- apparently for TV!

Plus, you've gotta see this photo.

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