The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy

In This Review

The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy

By Daniele Archibugi
Princeton University Press, 2008
320 pp. $29.95
Purchase

Globalization and the human rights revolution have sparked debates about new forms of a global democratic community. In a world in which citizens are sovereign and their lives are increasingly interdependent, who is to say that democracy should stop at the water's edge? Archibugi has been a leading proponent of new forms of cosmopolitan political community in which citizens have opportunities to participate directly in making global choices. In this book, he provides a grand summation of a decade of thinking about cosmopolitan democracy. Part of the book is a theoretical treatise on democracy and global governance. Archibugi notes that the virtues of democracy might be best realized within a national polity but that the intrusions of modernity have created an ungoverned global society that shapes and constrains people's lives. Increasingly, democracy at home requires some measure of democratic governance abroad to preserve the ideals of popular sovereignty and self-governance. Archibugi's claim that democracy must be reinvented for a global era leads to extended discussions of the ways in which transnational democracy might operate. It is easy for such discussions to become abstract statements of political dreams, but Archibugi, to his credit, rolls up his sleeves and grapples with the specific ways in which citizen groups can get directly involved.