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The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development. Against the Behemoth

By Vjeran Katunarić, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2018, 216 pages, ISBN: 978-15275-0907-8

The book analyses why liberal socialism as a compromise between liberalism and socialism did not succeed in the 20th century. The main reason is the self-incurred immaturity of both ideologies. Although both concepts diverged from the beginning, as contenders in the political scene, they gradually became more antagonistic and self-contained. Furthermore, the idea of the self-production of both the liberal and the socialist system absorbed their democratic potential and expanded the elective affinity toward authoritarian ideologies and regimes. The author, Vjeran Katunarić, Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Zadar, Croatia also provides a set of policies of liberal socialism that may serve to remove the liabilities of liberalism and socialism as separate ideologies and policies, and produce conditions for democratic and economically sustainable development. In Chapter Twelve he describes the policies of sustainable development, which are mapped out as a specific and continuous inter-sectoral endeavour. Thereby, culture is interpreted as the first among equals of the sectors. As the author explains, "this is so because culture with its core meaning, although sometimes ambivalent, is ingrained in the structures of individual behaviour, societal economy, political decision-making, and relations to nature".

As sustainable development is a dynamic process, the main focus of cultural policy is dynamicity and not conservation of the past, development and not a long-term status quo. The author points out that the dynamics of a culturally oriented policy of sustainability permeated the Croatian Strategy of Cultural Development published in 2003 (but never implemented). In the last section, A View to the Future, the conditions necessary to establish policies for a viable future are noted, among others:

  • A design created in the cultural spheres with a focus on sustainable development in cultural and other policies;
  • Myriads of small social life-worlds have existed since long ago, which have emanated peace and new prospects for human life and its surroundings. These micro-experiences must be incorporated into new policies for education, culture, health, the environment, and the economy.

This inspiring and thought-provoking book, focused on liberal-socialist democracy and sustainable development, is of special significance for researchers, policy makers and other members of the academic community.

For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgescholars.com/the-quest-for-a-liberal-socialist-democracy-and-development