Inner Democracy: Empowering the Mind Against a Polarizing Society

ISBN : 9780197501023

Hubert J. M. Hermans
228 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Inner Democracy: Empowering the Mind Against a Polarizing Society investigates the psychological backgrounds of contemporary societal problems such as hate speech, authoritarianism, and divisive forms of identity politics, and how we can counter such destructive forces. The book argues that a democratic society needs citizens who do more than just express their preference for free elections, freedom of speech, and respect of constitutional rights. Rather, democracy is vital only if it is deeply rooted in the hearts, minds, and selves of its participants. In the field of tension created by societal power clashes and absolute truth pretensions, the book investigates how opposition, cooperation, and participation work as innovative forces in a democratic self. Democracy is understood as a personal learning process and as a dialogical play between thought and counter-thought, between imagination and counter-imagination, and between emotion and reason. Written for social scientists, teachers, journalists, and parents who are interested in the facilitation of democracy in a wide variety of situations, this book proposes inner democracy as an antidote against the widespread polarization in our society.


Introduction. Democracy: What Happens In Our Self?
Chapter 1. The Power-Holder: The Appeal of Absolute Control
Chapter 2. The Truth-Holder: In The Trenches of Impenetrable Righteousness
Chapter 3. Inner Democracy and Political Intolerance
Chapter 4. The Mind-Expanding Potential of Opposing and Contradictory Positions
Chapter 5. Inner Democracy As Multi-Voiced and Dialogical
Chapter 6. Between The Imprisoned Self and Free Participation
Chapter 7. Stimulating and Impeding Factors For Inner Democracy
Epilogue. Inner Democracy In A Future of Algorithms


Hubert J.M. Hermans is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Radboud University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands and is internationally known as the creator of Dialogical Self Theory. He is Honorary Associate of the Taos Institute (2012) and was elected as foreign member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts in 2018. He is Honorary President of the International Society for Dialogical Science. In 2002, Hermans was decorated as Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his exceptional scientific contribution to society.