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We live in a revolutionary age of communicative abundance in which many media innovations - from satellite broadcasting to smart glasses and electronic books - spawn great fascination mixed with excitement. In the field of politics, hopeful talk of digital democracy, cybercitizens and e-government has been flourishing. This book admits the many thrilling ways that communicative abundance is fundamentally altering the contours of our lives and of our politics, often for the better. But it asks whether too little attention has been paid to the troubling counter-trends, the decadent media developments that encourage public silence and concentrations of unlimited power, so weakening the spirit and substance of democracy. Exploring examples of clever government surveillance, market censorship, spin tactics and back-channel public relations, John Keane seeks to understand and explain these trends, and how best to deal with them. Tackling some tough but big and fateful questions, Keane argues that 'media decadence' is deeply harmful for public life.
The Future of Representative Democracy poses important questions about representation, representative democracy and their future. Inspired by the last major investigation of the subject by Hanna Pitkin over four decades ago, this ambitious volume fills a major gap in the literature by examining the future of representative forms of democracy in terms of present-day trends and past theories of representative democracy. Aware of the pressing need for clarifying key concepts and institutional trends, the volume aims to break down barriers among disciplines and to establish an interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars. The contributors emphasise that representative democracy and its future is a subject of pressing scholarly concern and public importance. Paying close attention to the unfinished, two-centuries-old relationship between democracy and representation, this book offers a fresh perspective on current problems and dilemmas of representative democracy and the possible future development of new forms of democratic representation.
Keane (politics, U. of Westmister, UK) constructs a history of the institution of democracy that aims to show how democracy has evolved into different forms from its beginnings in Athens. He identifies the latest form as "monitory" democracy, which is characterized by the spread of extra-parliamentary power-monitoring institutions that include public integrity commissions, judicial activism, local courts, workplace tribunals, consensus conferences, public interest litigation, independent public inquiries, and other forms of scrutiny. He highlights the case of India as demonstrative of "monitory" democracy after his survey of the evolution of democratic institutions in ancient Greece, the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Annotation c2010 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
A fitting tribute to John B. Keane, for decades Ireland's favorite storyteller, this winning short story collection typifies the late author's folkloric imagination and storytelling arts. These are congenial tales, too, as this literary legend views the foibles and fallibilities of Irish country folk with abundant compassion as well as a shrewd, sometimes sardonic eye. Add to that Keane's glorious sense of fun and roguery that will make readers relish all the more how and why, in "Fred Rimble," Jim Conlon kills the best friend he ever had. Or how Willie Ramley determines that his future wife will be "Guaranteed Pure. " Or how, to tragic as well as comic effect, a gasp, garlic, and gossip undo Denny Bruder in "The Hanging. " In all, Keane uncovers the folly in the romantic pangs, exalted aspirations, misguided mischief, and everyday shortcomings of the characters in the village of his storyteller's mind-and beyond the folly finds their humanity.
This authorized biography of Havel, based on unrestricted access to him, his circle, and even his enemies, is not only the first definitive account of one of the modern world's great moral and political leaders but also a vivid panorama of the tumultuous events of his times. Havel's life, like that of his African counterpart Nelson Mandela, has been shaped and determined by the large political shifts of the twentieth century. Readers will taste the moments of joy, irony, farce, and misfortune through which he has lived, and realize that he has taught the world more about the powerful and the powerless, power-grabbing and power-sharing, than virtually anyone else on the world stage.
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