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Centre for Democratic Futures to be launched with talk by Pablo Ouziel

Published: 25 October 2019Origin: Politics and International Relations
Photo of Pablo Ouziel

On October 30th, the Centre for Democratic Futures will launch with a talk by Pablo Ouziel (University of Victoria)

Democracy Here and Now

The exemplary case of Spain

In 1972, Michel Foucault reminded us of the fact that people know what they want, why they want it, and are perfectly capable of speaking with their own voice. Yet, in 2013, the more I read about 15M in popular media, it became clear that many cartographers were mapping 15M’s field of activity without attending to 15M’s own voices. While 15M was being presented as an example of civil citizenship interspersed with acts of civil disobedience, 15M was describing and enacting something different. Puzzled by this, I began a trip around Spain which lasted for 9 months, in which I was seeking to engage 15M in a different manner. I did this by practicing the kind of public philosophy that studies practices of civic engagement by means of ‘dialogues of reciprocal elucidation.’ This was my effort to study 15M, the phenomenon, as an empirical social scientist without disqualifying it in the process. What I discovered, was that 15M showed civic and civil citizens practicing participatory democracy and joining hands. With their examples of civic activities and exemplars of civic citizenship, individuals being 15M were contesting while simultaneously constructing alternatives. Disclosing the field of 15M in this manner, crystalized 15M as a political phenomenon in its own right that is overlooked by state-centric framings.

Pablo is currently leading the development of the Cedar Trees Institute at UVic which focuses on, and acts for, community-based and participatory democracy. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor James Tully at UVic and is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Democracies and their Futures.


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