Building a Caring Democracy: Four Cornerstones for an Integrated Progressive Agenda


  • Riane Eisler Center for Partnership Studies



democracy, politics, political agenda, regressives, progressives, domination, partnership, children, gender, narratives, language, economics, caring democracy, values, demagogues, elections, fear, misogyny, human development


Why do people vote for “strong” leaders who condone violence, debase women, and stoke fear and scapegoating? If free elections alone are not the answer, what will it take to build a caring democracy that promotes the wellbeing and full development of all people? This paper examines these questions from a perspective that takes into account the connection between politics and economics, on one hand, and what children first experience and observe in their family and other intimate relations, on the other. It describes the study of relational dynamics, a multidisciplinary method of analysis that reveals social categories that transcend conventional ones: the partnership system and the domination system. It looks at modern history through the lens of the partnership-domination social scale, focusing on the struggle between the movement toward partnership and regressions to domination. It compares the integrated regressive worldview and political agenda with the fragmented progressive one. It identifies four cornerstones for partnership or domination systems: family/childhood, gender, economics, narratives/language. It then details how to build these cornerstones so they support a more humane, caring, and sustainable future, and provides practical resources for this urgent task.




How to Cite

Eisler, R. (2017). Building a Caring Democracy: Four Cornerstones for an Integrated Progressive Agenda. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 4(1).



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