Civic Immortality: The Problem of Civic Honor in Africa and the West View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2015-12

AUTHORS

Dan Demetriou

ABSTRACT

From Thomas Hobbes to Steven Pinker, it is often remarked that cultures of honor are destabilizing and especially dangerous to liberal institutions. This essay sharpens that criticism into two objections: one saying honor cultures encourage tyranny, and another accusing them of undermining rule of law. Since these concerns manifest differently in established as opposed to fledgling liberal democracies, I appeal to Western and African examples both to motivate and allay these worries. I contend that a culture of civic honor is perfectly capable of offering those with soaring ambitions all the civic distinction they could hope for—including civic immortality—without tempting them to seize undemocratic levels of power. And as for rule of law and public order, an “irrationally” defiant response to the indignity of state-sanctioned oppression has often animated citizens to resist illiberal regimes despite great peril. Thus, cultures of civic honor are not only compatible with, but sometimes necessary to, founding and maintaining liberal institutions. More... »

PAGES

257-276

References to SciGraph publications

  • 2014-11. What Should Realists Say About Honor Cultures? in ETHICAL THEORY AND MORAL PRACTICE
  • Journal

    TITLE

    The Journal of Ethics

    ISSUE

    3-4

    VOLUME

    19

    Author Affiliations

    Identifiers

    URI

    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s10892-015-9206-5

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10892-015-9206-5

    DIMENSIONS

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