The last couple of centuries have been a scene of significant cultural exchange among nations around the world. In this exchange, some cultures have been absorbed with remarkable ease and others not. Of the cultural aspects that have been received with vast and diverse responses, democracy is an interesting one.
The mandate of democracy is to preserve the individual’s rights to influence government. Democracy rests on the premise that in society, the individual is better off making decisions for oneself than relying on a proxy, and it makes sense that each stakeholder should be able to influence decision making in government. However, for some cultures that have hierarchical political structures based on a selection other than a consensus of the governed, democracy has come off as a subversive force.
Democracy has clashed with cultures in a number of African countries for instance. This winter break, I’ll be travelling to Zimbabwe, a country plagued by political issues that stem from the abuse of the electorate and disregard of the ballot box. I plan to explore the cultural leadership forms to attempt to investigate ways of defining democracy in the context of the host culture.