Section of the book cover with an illustration of a dove carrying a piece of barbed wire transforming into a green leaf. The Burden of Democracy: The Claims of Culture, Public Culture, and Democratic Memory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)
By Geneviève Souillac

This book is important because it weaves together both Anglophone and Continental thinking in political philosophy. Examining the role of historical memory in the debate on democratic ethics not only constitutes an original theoretical contribution — ultimately, it can further support the democratic pluralism the book defends." — Marcel Gauchet, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Cover of Souillac's Burden of Democracy. This book offers an original contribution to the debate on contemporary democratic ethics. It argues that public culture provides the mediating spaces required for processes of encounter, but should be supplemented with an open dialogue on history, memory, and identity. Since democratic modernity is consolidating its new phase characterized by the multiplicity of perspectives, the mediation of conflict, identity, and memory are required to continue fostering mutual understanding and the identification of issues of common concern.

The historical emergence of a public culture is a democratic gain. Recognizing this offers opportunities for ethical transformation that respects diversity but also addresses the realities of conflict under conditions of postmodernity.