Greetings! A special research area for me has been the origins of democratic civil society in the eighteenth century. My interest in this area of democratic studies developed during the rise of the Solidarity Union in Poland, the rise of the Velvet Revolutions in Central Europe, and with the ultimate downfall of the authoritarian blocs. How could that occur? How could civil associations, individual workers, a labor union, and intellectuals bring down the authoritarian states so swiftly? What is civil society? What are the historical, cutlrual, social, econonmic, and geographical origins of civil society, the public sphere and public space? Is there anti-democratic civil society?
More contemporaneously how have social networking technologies worked so swiftly to bring such profound transformation and the weave of nascent yet troubled civil society to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and additional countries in the Middle East and North Africa? How are social media emerging in new sites in countries and regions as diverse as Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Iran, Africa and Southern Asia? What does civil society and “global” civil society mean for the remainder of this decade and decades beyond?
In all times and places how is embodied experience, inquiry, communication and community understood in democratic civil society, the public sphere and public space? How can all of us best help in an often ambiguous, tough and unjust world? And how do we take and give comfort and nurturing on this wondroud blue orb?