Winter 2020 Blogging Democracy Contest: Climate Change and the New Social Contract

We’re proud to announce the winners of our first-ever “Blogging Democracy” Contest. In partnership with the Democracy Initiative and Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, we, the editors of Tocqueville 21, invited submissions from students in the College to address the following question:


Does climate crisis demand a new social contract? 

Climate change threatens to reshape our social fabric, requiring cooperation across borders, placing increased demands on state action, and raising new questions of who belongs in political communities. How should we rethink relationships between individuals and states in an age of climate crisis? This contest asks you to draw on your current or past experience with texts in the Social Science Core. In answering this question, consider how the social contract theory of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and others succeeds or fails in helping to understand and address the present.


Over the course of the Winter 2020 quarter, we workshopped drafts from talented students, drawing on their knowledge developed in Chicago’s Core Curriculum. Among many strong essays, we are proud to announce the winner along with four finalists. All of the essays will be published on the blog in the coming weeks.


Winner: David Liu, “Climate, State, and the Individual



Congratulations to all of the students for their excellent writing and hard work!


Photo Credit: Annie Spratt, via Unsplash


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