Street Power, Willpower, and Democracy

Plenary IV
Street Power, Willpower, and Democracy

Whether a sign of a healthy democratic experience or that of a deep and generalized discontent, in recent years, the world has witnessed a multitude of protest movements. From the “Occupy” movement, the "Indignados", the social riots in some Latin American countries, the so-called “Arab Spring”, to the more recent “Gilets Jaunes” or “Antivax”, the world registered a clear increase in dissents since the financial crisis (2007-08). These social movements have clearly demonstrated the growing frustration from socioeconomic policies. They have also pointed at some dysfunctions in democracies in terms of good governance, political representation, and economic justice. Hence, with street power seemingly coming back at the center of world geopolitics, governments are increasingly brought back to the fundamentals of the balance between power and people. Governments are challenged by mass protests, social media polemics and even boycott campaigns that can sometimes lead to damaging instability.


- How can we preserve values of democracy in today’s mutating world?

- What’s at stake in today’s world governance?

- In an era of proven instances of manipulation and interference in news and social media, how can governments ensure freedom of expression while addressing these challenges?

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