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Humanity Contested

Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships


Humanity Contested sets out to examine the anthropological foundation of democracy and to provide a unified account of how different ideologies and political styles of reasoning depend on deep-seated notions of humanity. Not only do ideologies compete to determine the ideal outcomes of a well-ordered society: collective welfare, individual utility, preservation of tradition, respect for identity etc. They also compete to determine different ideals of human agency.


Oftentimes, philosophical anthropology and political theory are only briefly connected in public discussions. Our main scientific starting point is that existing political anthropologies are simplistic or reductive. Our basic contention is that an updated philosophical anthropology must be perspectivist in the sense that it must unite an open series of approaches describing different aspects of human beings


Humanity Contested provides a new view of the anthropological underpinnings of democracy. By clearly stating how ideals of human agency are hypothesized and integrated in different ideological positions, the book sheds new light on the humanistic foundation for democratic and counter-democratic movements.


The core contribution of this monograph is to establish an intellectual history of the anthropology of democracy and its application to current political ideologies. With this pioneering approach, the book will contribute to the ongoing global debate about the future of democracy as well as providing clear pointers for understanding current and future democratic crises and responses.