Democracy Here and Now: The Exemplary Case of Spain
Published: April 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 216 Pages
Illustrations: 1 b&w map
Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25
216 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 0.60 in, 1 b&w map
In Spain, on May 15, 2011, a movement against austerity measures began. In a time when representative democracies were under threat, 15M came to life as a virtuous and democratic response to the slide into far-right populism and authoritarianism. More than a social movement, 15M became a mode of being with transformative, democratizing potential.
In Democracy Here and Now, Pablo Ouziel offers a grounded analysis of 15M. At the time of the movement and during the ensuing encampments, Ouziel travelled extensively, speaking to participants, and keeping an ongoing record of his conversations. Presenting an original participatory mode of research, the book reveals six types of intersubjective, "joining hands" relationships that 15M has brought into being and works to carry on in creative ways. The book shows how the movement’s way of being and temporality persists in Spain following the square occupations, while 15M citizens continue to learn and move forward in less perceptible ways.
Democracy Here and Now sheds light on a deeply relational, intersectional, and eco-social mode of democracy, and shows how 15M’s ongoing democratization practices are exemplary of similar grassroots movements around the world, broadening our understandings of what it means to be democratic in the here and now.
Foreword: James Tully
Visiting 15M locales across Spain
Six distinct types of joining hands relationships
Studying democracies: Learning via examples and exemplarity
1. Exercising power together as equals
2. Roots and routes of Spain’s counter-modernity
3. Constructing alternative futures on shoestring budgets
4. Engaging state-based representative government
5. Democracy here and now
“Ouziel argues that 15M served as a tipping point in democratic Spain because it manifested civic freedom, a culture of caring, and even a way of life. He believes it persists because its self-created participatory cooperation is interspersed with a civil citizenship. This distinction between civil and civic citizenship nicely contributes conceptually to understanding social movements. Mainstream political scientists and theorists will question the author’s hopeful argument about 15M’s long-term impact." T.D. Lancaster, Emory University, CHOICE
"How can democracy be preserved in the face of its present divisions? How can democracy be deepened in order to avoid citizen alienation? Pablo Ouziel aims to show that these questions are deeply related, that they turn out, in the end, to be the same question. Democracy in a modern state where elected governments exercise power over citizens needs to be undergirded by democratic forms where citizens can freely and openly work out their differences through mutual understanding and exchange. Pablo Ouziel’s rich discussion focuses on recent Spanish experience and draws on his many conversations with people in all parts of the country."Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University
"This is one of the best books I have read on the democratic uprising in Spain. An innovative, bottom-up approach grows into the prolegomena of an inspiring democratic theory for the twenty-first century."Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Professor, School of Economics, University of Coimbra and Distinguished Legal Scholar, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Even in countries called democracies, a politics of winning often dominates over joining hands in building better futures. Spain’s 15M is one of the most inspiring demonstrations that deeper democracy is possible. Pablo Ouziel’s’ Democracy Here and Now is the crucial resource for understanding this innovative movement."Craig Calhoun, University Professor of Social Sciences, Arizona State University