Voices of the People
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More About This Title Voices of the People
In the wake of 9/11 and the murders of Pim Fortuyn (2002) and Theo van Gogh (2004), Dutch politics and society changed dramatically. The widely shared belief that the Netherlands is a modern country was dealt a severe blow. The Dutch discovered that they live in a country whose cultural and national identity is contested. In politics and society, national culture and identity became an important theme and new dividing lines emerged. In Voices of the People, philosopher Sjaak Koenis analyzes these changes. To understand why culture and identity became so important in the Netherlands, it is not enough to blame politicians who were unwilling to face troublesome facts about migration, integration, and the role of Europe. Rather, it was their belief in the modernization of the Netherlands that blinded them to the resurgence of the desire for community. It explores how both “modernists” and “culturalists” misconceive what politics can do and what needs to be done to safeguard the famous Dutch tradition of political pluralism.
Sjaak Koenis is an associate professor in the department of philosophy at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He has published on a wide range of topics from the history of the Frankfurt School and American sociology to the importance of the desire for community, the nature of Dutch tolerance, and the relation between resentment and democracy.
“Koenis critically examines the available theories about culture, singles out the most useful elements, and presents on the basis of this a few solutions to social problems that makes you wonder why sensible politicians didn’t think about this before.” —Willem Breedveld, Trouw