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  • Writer's pictureChaire UNESCO en démocratie, citoyenneté mondiale et éducation transformatoire

Presentation (INDIA): Pandora Democracy and a Delusional Pandemic

Pandora Democracy and a Delusional Pandemic:

Will There Be Room For All of Us at the Inn?

Dr. Paul R. Carr

Normative democracy presents elections, political parties, and administrative and judicial institutions as the solution to societal problems as well as a justification for our socio-political and economic organization and structures. Normative democracy has become a treasonous, algorithmic instrument that increasingly is garnering less electoral support and formal participation alongside burgeoning and visceral social inequalities, endless conflict and warfare, environmental catastrophe and deeply-entrenched social immobility. The Panama Papers exposed the hypocritical house of cards holding up this pseudo-democratic scaffolding, and the Pandora Papers reminds us that the ultra-extreme wealthy have little interest in participating in society but they still want to control how the game is played. The COVID-19 pandemic has, concurrently, divided, in general terms, the rich and poor, the North and South, and racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups, and has demonstrated that the neoliberal politico-economic system that underpinned life beforehand was certainly not a paradise for most people around the world. So where do we go from here, and can we build societies and a world that will more justly, meaningfully, fairly and critically address the needs of all peoples, species and the environment? This presentation seeks to engage these questions with a view to developing social solidarity, social movements, critical and innovative forms of engagement and participation, and social change for the betterment of everyone, thus reimagining democracy, social justice and citizenship.

PAUL R. CARR is a Full Professor in the Department of Education at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada, and is also the Chair-holder of the UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Global Citizenship and Transformative Education (DCMÉT) ( His research focuses on political sociology, with specific threads related to democracy, global citizenship, media literacy, peace studies, the environment, intercultural relations, and transformative change in education. He has seventeen co-edited books and an award-winning, single-author book (Does your vote count? Democracy and critical pedagogy) as well as a new book with Gina Thésée (“It’s not education that scares me, it’s the educators…”: Is there still hope for democracy in education, and education for democracy?). He is the Principal Investigator of two Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) research projects entitled, respectively, Democracy, political literacy and transformative education, and Social Media, Citizen Participation and Education. Before entering academia, he was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Ontario Ministry of Education (Canada), working on equity and social justice issues.

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