Limits to Democracy

March 2016
By Sebnem Udum, Assistant Professor and Vice Director of the Center for Strategic Research, Hacettepe University, Turkey

The following article is part of the SFG publication “Big Questions of Our time: The World Speaks”. To access the full publication please click here.


The most significant question for the 21st century is the capability of policymakers to adapt themselves, their institutions and decision-making tools to the needs of the time, their societies and citizens. Traditionally, we gave priority to hard security issues. Social movements, environmental issues, migration and gender issues could draw much less attention. The developments of the last decade have demonstrated that the tools that have been in place so far are sometimes necessary but most of the time insufficient to deal with the current and pressing issues of our time. Therefore, to develop adequate measures, it is necessary to gain a new perspective for the definition of problems, issues, threats and challenges. This can be achieved by an “inclusive” rather than an “exclusive” approach, that is, by tackling the problems that affect humanity and address them. This is possible by international organizations developing or strengthening norms of environmental protection, human security, human rights and women’s rights.

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