The regional and the universal: the new democratic discourses in the Russian Federation and Latin America
In the contemporary global context, there is no universally shared understanding of what democracy is, but democracy still functions as a universal goal. This contested universality can be conceptualized by interpreting democracy as an empty signifier, as a number of chapters in this volume do. Empty signifiers, by definition, accumulate a lot of power. However the notion of democracy has acquired even greater significance in the age of globalization. By reconfiguring the ‘demos’, the world can be both integrated (democracy as cosmopolitan/international) and disintegrated (democracy as national/sovereign). In any specific political situation democracy can be articulated at a specific point in the spectrum between the cosmopolitan and the national, but full consensus is available only around a very broad notion of democracy as the basic goal of development for all countries as well as for the entire world.