Diversity and Democracy
As the world recovers from the COVID pandemic, cities are refilling again with office workers, students, commuters, and tourists. The crowds once again provide a daily illustration of the enormous social diversity to be found in urban environments. They also carry with them the differences of dress and appearance that offer the superficial and sometimes misleading symbols of social differences.
Some people clearly enjoy the spectrum of diversity, seek it out and flourish in it. But for others it is an unsettling patchwork and a source of stress. Democracies often struggle in the face of deep social differences. Instead of reacting positively to the challenges of the modern world, people may react protectively and defensively. Essential democratic practices such as civility, consent to loss in electoral contests and acceptance of the system of rulemaking despite disagreement with particular pieces of law-making, all come under pressure. The ability to cooperate and to take collective action is blocked. Tempers rise. Democracies decline.
This blog looks at the nature of the challenge and possible responses.