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A Political Companion to W. E. B. Du Bois$
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Nick Bromell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813174907

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813174907.001.0001

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A Democracy of Differences

A Democracy of Differences

Knowledge and the Unknowable in Du Bois’s Theory of Democratic Governance

Chapter:
(p.181) 7 A Democracy of Differences
Source:
A Political Companion to W. E. B. Du Bois
Author(s):

Robert W. Williams

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813174907.003.0008

In this essay, Robert W. Williams discusses Du Bois’s ideals of democracy and the impact they had on traditional US democratic theory. He juxtaposes Du Bois’s conceptions of difference with those of Iris Marion Young in order to highlight Du Bois’s distinctiveness. Young believes that difference is knowable, whereas Du Bois asserts that it is not, especially in regard to the possibility of scientific objectivity. Using Du Bois’s critiques of science’s limitations and strengths, Williams argues that Du Bois recognized the inadequacies of governance strictly based on science and therefore advocated a democratic form of governance that, although supported by science, would also rely on the participation of diverse groups of citizens.

Keywords:   W. E. B.Du Bois, democracy, scientific knowledge, Iris Marion Young, difference, diversity, white privilege, racial exclusion, social groups, policymaking

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