From Liberal Democracy to the Cosmopolitan Canopy

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Jon Van Til


Liberalism is that ideology, that worldview, which values, in an ever-evolving set of intelligently intermingled thoughts:  democracy, freedom (liberty), equality (justice), fraternity (solidarity), the pursuit of happiness, pluralism (diversity), and human rights--and explores the ever-open ever-possible futures of their rediscovery and advance. The study of ways in which social movements relate to Third sector/nonprofit or voluntary organizations can be structured, if we choose, as a liberal endeavor.  That is the message I receive from Antonin Wagner’s (2012) telling of the emergence of a field that focuses its study and developmental energies on place of intermediate associational life in modern society, from Adalbert Evers’ efforts to sustain the welfare state in an era of untrammeled capitalism (2013), and from Roger Lohmann’s (1992) comprehensive vision of a social commons capable of assuring the values of liberal society.

This paper sets the theory of liberal democracy in a contemporary cosmopolitan context, drawing on case material from Hungary, Northern Ireland,  and the United States.


Article Details

Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Jon Van Til, Rutgers University, Indiana University, and Budapest University of Jewish Studies

JON VAN TIL is Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Community Planning at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA.  His twelve authored or co-edited books include RESOLVING COMMUNITY CONFLICTS AND PROBLEMS (2011),  BREACHING DERRY’S WALLS (2008),  GROWING CIVIL SOCIETY (2008, 2000),  and  MAPPING THE THIRD SECTOR (1988).  He served as Fulbright Specialist in Northern Ireland in 2006 and Hungary in 2010-2014, and is the past president of ARNOVA and the recipient of its career award for distinguished research and service.  He divides his time between homes in Seelyville, Indiana USA and Budapest, and currently serves as Senior Visiting Scholar at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Budapest University of Jewish Studies.


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