The 'social fracture' of modern societies, divided between dominant elites and subordinate citizens, is central to the critique of Alain Touraine ('social movements') and Pierre Bourdieu ('symbolic power'). Both insist that structural inequalities in social, economic and political fields are at the heart of the democratic malaise. Indeed, widespread inequality at work, in educational opportunities and access to social goods contradicts the founding principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Touraine and Bourdieu differ, however, in their theoretical and practical conclusions. Touraine is reformist, advocating cooperation as well as contestation in relations between social movements (such as trade unions, environmentalists and feminists) and political institutions. Bourdieu, on the contrary, is radical, insisting on the overthrow of dominant structures of society, which not only physically enforce elite rule, but by the subtle diffusion of 'symbolic power' - whereby the dominated internalise ruling ideas - ensure that subordinate classes contribute to their own domination. Rather than emphasising conflict between radicalism and reformism, John Girling sees them as complementary: each needing the other to be effective. The mobilising force of social movements requires the inspirational goals of (transformed) symbolic power, which are not in the service of dominant structures, but are universal values worth striving for. It is in this way that the 'democratic deficit' of modern societies - constrained between the imperatives of the global economy and the disillusionment of citizens - can best be overcome.

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