Citizenship, Pluralism, and Modern Public Space
The article begins with the realist assumption in political science that posits that political violence and chaos occurs in the absence of the state, and that the international system is congenitally anarchic. Using the Y2K problem and the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York as two instances of violent political phenomena within global modernity, this article examines notions of citizenship, pluralism, and their relationships with modern public space through the lens of 'public disaster' scenarios in which the breakdown of centralized systems of power tends to lead to chaos. However, public disasters also appear to create the opposite effect of bonding communities together in the face of adversity that leads to greater social cohesion rather than the breakdown of social institutions. The article tries to resolve this apparent enigma through several theories of public space, democracy, and civil society.