Whatever Happened to Democracy?
Reflections of a Dying Ideal
John Keane

October 2 at 4:00 p.m.
Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Bldg.

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Keane’s lecture will inaugurate the Ioan Davies Memorial Scholarship, to be awarded annually at York to a graduate student in the Communication & Culture Program. The talk is entitled "Whatever Happened to Democracy? Reflections on a Dying Ideal," a subject befitting the late York professor of sociology and social and political thought, Ioan Davies. Davies was a dedicated teacher and eloquent writer, who inspired students through his work with thinkers and artists from countries experiencing cultural conflict and change.

Speaking at York from a futuristic perspective, Keane will be examining the long-term impact of factors he has identified as contributing to the current global decline in democracy. Among these are reduced voter turnout, waning enthusiasm for politicians and cynicism regarding the political process.

An internationally acclaimed scholar and media commentator, Keane is founder and director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster in London, England. He says a rising tide of anti-democratic behaviour and new fears of violence and war are battering democracy’s global "triumph" of a decade ago.

Professor of politics at the University of Westminster, Keane is known for re-introducing the Enlightenment notion of "civil society" into contemporary social theory. He has emphasized the role of civil society groups in maintaining cultures of democracy under reactionary governments, and their importance in a globalized world and in the creation of new forms of governance.

Keane is author of numerous books, including the prize-winning Tom Paine: A Political Life (1995), and his most recent work, Global Civil Society? (2003). His work has been translated into many languages and he is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement.