Reading Group

The CCG reading group provides a forum for for discussion and debate about critical theories and concepts relevant to the social sciences and humanities

Militant democracy Wednesday 10 December
12 pm - 2 pm
Burwood Waurn Ponds VMP
Burwood Corporate Centre (Building BC, Level 2) By request By request
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'Militant democracy' is a concept which refers to the capacity of democratic governments to interfere with certain rights, such as free speech, freedom of religion, rights of association, rights to counsel and a fair trial when the government feels that democratic order is being threatened. The questions which are raised by the readings, and which will be addressed in the reading group discussion are:

Is the concept of militant democracy a defensible one?

If so, how far can you go before democratic order is fundamentally undermined?

Further, in Australia, the principle underpins the current counter-terrorism regime that contains more laws than the UK, Spain and the US- all of which experienced actual terrorist attacks. As such, is Australia's approach to counter-terrorism justified, or an overreaction that is leading to an atrophy of our rights and the scapegoating of Muslims?

Articles for discussion are: 

  • Macklem, P. (2006). Militant democracy, legal pluralism, and the paradox of self-determination. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 4(3), 488-516. 
  • Irving, H. (2009). Australia. In M. Thiel (Ed.), The 'Militant Democracy' Principle in Modern Democracies (pp. 15-36). Farnham, England ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
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