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Democracy in What State?

by Giorgio Agamben Wendy Brown William Mccuaig Alain Badiou Daniel Bensaid Jean-Luc Nancy Kristin Ross

"Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?"In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Rancière highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj i ek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.

Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliche. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come. In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.

The Democracy Index

by Heather K. Gerken

Despite howls for reform, the only thing separating us from another election disaster of the kind that hit Florida in 2000, and that almost struck again in Ohio in 2004, may simply be another close vote. In this lucid and lively book, Heather Gerken diagnoses what is wrong with our elections and proposes a radically new and simple solution: a Democracy Index that would rate the performance of state and local election systems. A rough equivalent to the U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities, the Index would focus on problems that matter to all voters: How long does it take to vote? How many ballots get discarded? How often do voting machines break down? And it should work for a simple reason: no one wants to be at the bottom of the list. For a process that is supposed to be all about counting, U.S. elections yield few reliable numbers about anything--least of all how well the voting system is managed. The Democracy Index would change this with a blueprint for quantifying election performance and reform results, replacing anecdotes and rhetoric with hard data and verifiable outcomes. A fresh vision of reform, this book shows how to drive improvements by creating incentives for politicians, parties, and election officials to join the cause of change and to come up with creative solutions--all without Congress issuing a single regulation. In clear and energetic terms, The Democracy Index explains how to realize the full potential of the Index while avoiding potential pitfalls. Election reform will never be the same again.

Democracy, Inequality and Corruption

by Jong-Sung You

In this comparative, historical survey of three East-Asian democracies, Jong-sung You explores the correlation between inequality and corruption in the countries of South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Drawing on a wealth of rich empirical research, he illustrates the ways in which economic inequality can undermine democratic accountability, thereby increasing the risk of clientelism and capture. Transcending the scope of corruption research beyond economic growth, this book surveys why some countries, like the Philippines, have failed to curb corruption and develop, whilst others such as South Korea and Taiwan have been more successful. Taking into account factors such as the success and failure of land reform, variations in social structure, and industrial policy, Jong-sung You provides a sound example of how comparative analysis can be employed to identify causal direction and mechanisms in political science.

Democracy, Inequality, and Political Participation in American Life

by Merlin Chowkwanyun Randa Serhan

How can the United States meet the challenges of maintaining and building upon its democratic principles in the twenty-first century? The timely essays in this new book address many of the key issues of our time, among them changing immigration politics, antipoverty policies, and the future of U.S. cities and planning in a post-Katrina world. Contributors include Michael Schudson, Michael B. Katz, Peter Marcuse, William Julius Wilson, Stanley Aronowitz, Frances Fox Piven, Katherine Newman, Margaret Chin, and William Kornblum.

Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

by Alfred Stepan Ahmet T. Kuru

While Turkey has grown as a world power, promoting the image of a progressive and stable nation, several policy choices have strained its relationship with the East and the West. Providing social, historical, and religious context for Turkey's singular behavior, the essays in Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey examine issues relevant to Turkish debates and global concerns, from the state's position on religion and diversity to its involvement in the European Union. Written by experts in a range of disciplines, the chapters explore the Ottoman toleration of diversity during its classical period; the erosion of ethno-religious diversity in modern, pre-democratic times; Kemalism and its role in modernization and nation building; the changing political strategies of the military; and the effect of possible EU membership on domestic reforms. They also conduct a cross-Continental comparison of "multiple secularisms" as well as political parties, considering the Justice and Development Party in Turkey in relation to Christian Democratic parties in Europe. The contributors tackle central research questions, such as what is the legacy of the Ottoman Empire's ethno-religious plurality and how can Turkey's assertive secularism be softened to allow greater space for religious actors. They address the military's "guardian" role in Turkey's secularism, the implications of recent constitutional amendments for democratization, and the consequences and benefits of Islamic activism's presence within a democratic system. No other collection confronts Turkey's contemporary evolution so vividly and thoroughly or offers such expert analysis of its crucial social and political systems.

The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order

by Nicolas Guilhot

Nicolas Guilhot looks at how the U.S. government, the World Bank, political scientists, NGOs, think tanks have appropriated the movements for democracy and human rights. His work charts the various symbolic and political meanings that have developed around the movement for human rights and democracy as well their strategic importance for the West. Guilhot suggests that these shifting meanings reflect the transformation of a progressive, emancipatory movement into an industry, dominated by "experts," rather than grassroots leaders.

Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

by Cornel West

In his major bestseller, Race Matters, philosopher Cornel West burst onto the national scene with his searing analysis of the scars of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, still in print after ten years, having sold more than four hundred thousand copies. A mesmerizing speaker with a host of fervidly devoted fans, West gives as many as one hundred public lectures a year and appears regularly on radio and television. Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision" and hailed by Newsweek as "an elegant prophet with attitude," he bridges the gap between black and white opinion about the country's problems.<P><P> In Democracy Matters, West returns to the analysis of the arrested development of democracy-both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In a strikingly original diagnosis, he argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, we must first wake up to the long history of imperialist corruption that has plagued our own democracy. Both our failure to foster peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis of Islamist anti-Americanism stem largely from hypocrisies in our dealings with the world. Racism and imperial expansionism have gone hand in hand in our country's inexorable drive toward hegemony, and our current militarism is only the latest expression of that drive. Even as we are shocked by Islamic fundamentalism, our own brand of fundamentalism, which West dubs Constantinian Christianity, has joined forces with imperialist corporate and political elites in an unholy alliance, and four decades after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., insidious racism still inflicts debilitating psychic pain on so many of our citizens.<P> But there is a deep democratic tradition in America of impassioned commitment to the fight against imperialist corruptions-the last great expression of which was the civil rights movement led by Dr. King-and West brings forth the powerful voices of that great democratizing tradition in a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic nature. His impassioned and provocative argument for the revitalization of America's democracy will reshape the terms of the raging national debate about America's role in today's troubled world.

Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America

by Amy Goodman David Goodman Denis Moynihan

A celebration of the acclaimed television and radio news program Democracy Now! and the extraordinary movements and heroes who have moved our democracy forward.In 1996 Amy Goodman began hosting a show on Pacifica Radio called Democracy Now! to focus on the issues and movements that are too often ignored by the corporate media. Today Democracy Now! is the largest public media collaboration in the US, broadcasting on over 1,400 public television and radio stations around the world, with millions accessing it online at DemocracyNow.org. Now Amy, along with her journalist brother, David, and co-author Denis Moynihan, share stories of the heroes--the whistleblowers, the organizers, the protesters--who have brought about remarkable change. This important book looks back over the past two decades of Democracy Now! and the powerful movements and charismatic leaders who are re-shaping our world. Goodman takes the reader along as she goes to where the silence is, bringing out voices from the streets of Ferguson to Staten Island, Wall Street, South Carolina to East Timor--and other places where people are rising up to demand justice. Democracy Now! is the modern day underground railroad of information, bringing stories from the grassroots to a global audience.

Democracy Past and Future

by Samuel Moyn

One of Europe's leading contemporary political thinkers proposes provocative new readings of the history, aims, scope, and possibility of democratic theory and practice today.

The Democracy Project

by David Graeber

A bold rethinking of the most powerful political idea in the world--democracy--and the story of how radical democracy can yet transform America Democracy has been the American religion since before the Revolution--from New England town halls to the multicultural democracy of Atlantic pirate ships. But can our current political system, one that seems responsive only to the wealthiest among us and leaves most Americans feeling disengaged, voiceless, and disenfranchised, really be called democratic? And if the tools of our democracy are not working to solve the rising crises we face, how can we--average citizens--make change happen? David Graeber, one of the most influential scholars and activists of his generation, takes readers on a journey through the idea of democracy, provocatively reorienting our understanding of pivotal historical moments, and extracts their lessons for today--from the birth of Athenian democracy and the founding of the United States of America to the global revolutions of the twentieth century and the rise of a new generation of activists. Underlying it all is a bracing argument that in the face of increasingly concentrated wealth and power in this country, a reenergized, reconceived democracy--one based on consensus, equality, and broad participation--can yet provide us with the just, free, and fair society we want. The Democracy Project tells the story of the resilience of the democratic spirit and the adaptability of the democratic idea. It offers a fresh take on vital history and an impassioned argument that radical democracy is, more than ever, our best hope.Praise for David Graeber's Debt "A sprawling, erudite, provocative work."--Drake Bennett, Bloomberg Businessweek "Written in a brash, engaging style, the book is also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of debt--where it came from and how it evolved."--The New York Times Book Review "Fresh . . . fascinating . . . thought-provoking [and] exceedingly timely."--Financial Times "The book is more readable and entertaining than I can indicate. . . . Graeber is a scholarly researcher, an activist and a public intellectual. His field is the whole history of social and economic transactions."--Peter Carey, The Observer "One of the year's most influential books. Graeber situates the emergence of credit within the rise of class society, the destruction of societies based on 'webs of mutual commitment' and the constantly implied threat of physical violence that lies behind all social relations based on money."--Paul Mason, The Guardian "Part anthropological history and part provocative political argument, it's a useful corrective to what passes for contemporary conversation about debt and the economy."--Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe "Terrific . . . In the best anthropological tradition, he helps us reset our everyday ideas by exploring history and other civilizations, then boomeranging back to render our own world strange, and more open to change."--Raj Patel, The Globe and Mail

The Democracy Sourcebook

by Robert Alan Dahl I. Shapiro José Antonio Cheibub

The Democracy Sourcebook offers a collection of classic writings and contemporary scholarship on democracy, creating a book that can be used by undergraduate and graduate students in a wide variety of courses, including American politics.

Democracy, the God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hoppe calls for an alignment of conservatism and libertarianism and suggests, among other things, that the production of defense should be undertaken by insurance companies on the free market.

Democracy & the Political in Max Weber's Thought

by Terry Maley

Max Weber is best known as one of the founders of modern sociology and the author of the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, but he also made important contributions to modern political and democratic theory. In Democracy and the Political in Max Weber's Thought, Terry Maley explores, through a detailed analysis of Weber's writings, the intersection of recent work on Weber and on democratic theory, bridging the gap between these two rapidly expanding areas of scholarship.Maley critically examines how Weber's realist 'model' of democracy defines and constrains the possibilities for democratic agency in modern liberal-democracies. Maley also looks at how ideas of historical time and memory are constructed in his writings on religion, bureaucracy, and the social sciences. Democracy and the Political in Max Weber's Thought is both an accessible introduction to Weber's political thought and a spirited defense of its continued relevance to debates on democracy.

Democracy Under Pressure: An Introduction to the American Political System (10th Edition)

by David Wise Milton C. Cummings

A political science text for the 21st Century, DEMOCRACY UNDER PRESSURE has provided well over a million students with a comprehensive look at the fundamentals of American Government. Milton Cummings, a respected scholar and academic, and David Wise, a best selling author and political analyst, bring their talents to bear on a text that conveys a balanced, realistic guide to American politics while describing the institutions of American government.

Democracy: A Very Short Introduction

by Bernard Crick

No political concept is more used, and misused, than that of democracy. Nearly every regime today claims to be democratic, but not all 'democracies' allow free politics, and free politics existed long before democratic franchises. This book is a short account of the history of the doctrine and practice of democracy, from ancient Greece and Rome through the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices associated with it in the modern world. It argues that democracy is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for good government, and that ideas of the rule of law, and of human rights, should in some situations limit democratic claims.

Democracy’s Blameless Leaders

by Neil James Mitchell

From the American and British counter-insurgency in Iraq to the bombing of Dresden and the Amristar Massacre in India, civilians are often abused and killed when they are caught in the cross-fire of wars and other conflicts. In Democracy's Blameless Leaders, Neil Mitchell examines how leaders in democracies manage the blame for the abuse and the killing of civilians, arguing that politicians are likely to react in a self-interested and opportunistic way and seek to deny and evade accountability. Using empirical evidence from well-known cases of abuse and atrocity committed by the security forces of established, liberal democracies, Mitchell shows that self-interested political leaders will attempt to evade accountability for abuse and atrocity, using a range of well-known techniques including denial, delay, diversion, and delegation to pass blame for abuse and atrocities to the lowest plausible level. Mitchell argues that, despite the conventional wisdom that accountability is a 'central feature' of democracies, it is only a rare and courageous leader who acts differently, exposing the limits of accountability in democratic societies. As democracies remain embroiled in armed conflicts, and continue to try to come to grips with past atrocities, Democracy's Blameless Leaders provides a timely analysis of why these events occur, why leaders behave as they do, and how a more accountable system might be developed.

Democracy's Good Name

by Michael Mandelbaum

The last thirty years have witnessed one of the most remarkable developments in history: the rapid rise of democracy around the world. In 1900, only ten countries were democracies and by 1975 there were only 30. Today, 119 of the world's 190 countries have adopted this form of government, and it is by far the most celebrated and prestigious one. How did democracy acquire its good name? Why did it spread so far and so fast? Why do important countries remain undemocratic? And why do efforts to export democracy so often fail and even make conditions worse? InDemocracy's Good Name, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, answers these questions. He surveys the methods and risks of promoting democracy, and analyzes the prospects for the establishment of democratic governments in Russia, China, and the Arab world. Written in Mandelbaum's clear and accessible style,Democracy's Good Namepresents a lucid, comprehensive, and surprising account of the history and future of democracy from the American Revolution to the occupation of Iraq.

A Democratic Constitution for Public Education

by Paul T. Hill Ashley E. Jochim

America's education system faces a stark dilemma: it needs governmental oversight, rules and regulations, but it also needs to be adaptable enough to address student needs and the many different problems that can arise at any given school-something that large educational bureaucracies are notoriously bad at. The authors offer a solution.

The Democratic Dilemma of American Education

by Arnold Shober

This compelling new book asks: How can American education policy be consistent with democratic ideals? Robust democracy is the combination of participation, self-rule, equality, understanding, and inclusion, but these norms can produce contradictory policy. Local control in education policy can undermine educational equality. Participation in teachers unions can improve working conditions but thwart self-rule by local taxpayers. The Democratic Dilemma of American Education draws on contemporary research in political science and education policy to offer remarkably balanced insights into these challenging issues. Expertly navigating through local, state, and federal layers of education policy, Arnold Shober examines contemporary controversies over education governance, teachers unions and collective bargaining, school funding, school choice, academic accountability, and desegregation. Shober describes the inherent practical dilemmas of current policy and the difficulties policymakers face in overcoming them to produce lasting educational reform in a democratic, federal system of government. Timely, engaging, and accessible, this is the ideal resource for courses in public policy as well as education and politics.

The Democratic Dilemma of American Education

by Arnold Shober

This compelling new book asks: How can American education policy be consistent with democratic ideals? Robust democracy is the combination of participation, self-rule, equality, understanding, and inclusion, but these norms can produce contradictory policy. Local control in education policy can undermine educational equality. Participation in teachers unions can improve working conditions but thwart self-rule by local taxpayers. The Democratic Dilemma of American Education draws on contemporary research in political science and education policy to offer remarkably balanced insights into these challenging issues. Expertly navigating through local, state, and federal layers of education policy, Arnold Shober examines contemporary controversies over education governance, teachers unions and collective bargaining, school funding, school choice, academic accountability, and desegregation. Shober describes the inherent practical dilemmas of current policy and the difficulties policymakers face in overcoming them to produce lasting educational reform in a democratic, federal system of government. Timely, engaging, and accessible, this is the ideal resource for courses in public policy as well as education and politics.

Democratic Elections in Poland, 1991-2007

by Frances Millard

This book is a political history of democratic elections in Poland from the first fully competitive parliamentary elections in 1991 to the unexpected, most recent election in 2007. Until now, there has been no equivalent study covering similar developments in this, or any other, post-communist country; this book fills the gap and provides a detailed electoral perspective on the trajectory of political development in the context of post-authoritarian change. It also provides an invaluable account of the evolution of electoral processes and institution-building in the context of democratic regime development. The major themes of the book centre on the complex, problematic development of Poland's political parties and the parties' failure to gain public support and win the confidence of the electorate. Frances Millard examines the failure of Polish elites; the lack of a stable party system and how elections have had a destabilizing effect, and she argues that the interaction of leadership volatility, party volatility, and electoral volatility have created uncertainty and undermined political parties as effective vehicles of representation. Poland is a large and important country, worthy of study in its own right, but equally many of the problems experienced are not unique to Poland; so this book also constitutes a comparative benchmark for analysis of democratic developments elsewhere.

The Democratic Experiment: New Directions in American Political History

by Julian E. Zelizer Meg Jacobs William J. Novak

In a series of fascinating essays that explore topics in American politics from the nation's founding to the present day , The Democratic Experiment opens up exciting new avenues for historical research while offering bold claims about the tensions that have animated American public life. Revealing the fierce struggles that have taken place over the role of the federal government and the character of representative democracy, the authors trace the contested and dynamic evolution of the national polity.The contributors, who represent the leading new voices in the revitalized field of American political history, offer original interpretations of the nation's political past by blending methodological insights from the new institutionalism in the social sciences and studies of political culture. They tackle topics as wide-ranging as the role of personal character of political elites in the Early Republic, to the importance of courts in building a modern regulatory state, to the centrality of local political institutions in the late twentieth century. Placing these essays side by side encourages the asking of new questions about the forces that have shaped American politics over time. An unparalleled example of the new political history in action, this book will be vastly influential in the field.In addition to the editors, the contributors are Brian Balogh, Sven Beckert, Rebecca Edwards, Joanne B. Freeman, Richard R. John, Ira Katznelson, James T. Kloppenberg, Matthew D. Lassiter, Thomas J. Sugrue, Michael Vorenberg, and Michael Willrich.

Democratic Faith

by Patrick J. Deneen

The American political reformer Herbert Croly wrote, "For better or worse, democracy cannot be disentangled from an aspiration toward human perfectibility." Democratic Faith is at once a trenchant analysis and a powerful critique of this underlying assumption that informs democratic theory. Patrick Deneen argues that among democracy's most ardent supporters there is an oft-expressed belief in the need to "transform" human beings in order to reconcile the sometimes disappointing reality of human self-interest with the democratic ideal of selfless commitment. This "transformative impulse" is frequently couched in religious language, such as the need for political "redemption." This is all the more striking given the frequent accompanying condemnation of traditional religious belief that informs the "democratic faith." At the same time, because so often this democratic ideal fails to materialize, democratic faith is often subject to a particularly intense form of disappointment. A mutually reinforcing cycle of faith and disillusionment is frequently exhibited by those who profess a democratic faith- in effect imperiling democratic commitments due to the cynicism of its most fervent erstwhile supporters. Deneen argues that democracy is ill-served by such faith. Instead, he proposes a form of "democratic realism" that recognizes democracy not as a regime with aspirations to perfection, but that justifies democracy as the regime most appropriate for imperfect humans. If democratic faith aspires to transformation, democratic realism insists on the central importance of humility, hope, and charity.

Democratic Governance

by Mark Bevir

Democratic Governance examines the changing nature of the modern state and reveals the dangers these changes pose to democracy. Mark Bevir shows how new ideas about governance have gradually displaced old-style notions of government in Britain and around the world. Policymakers cling to outdated concepts of representative government while at the same time placing ever more faith in expertise, markets, and networks. Democracy exhibits blurred lines of accountability and declining legitimacy. Bevir explores how new theories of governance undermined traditional government in the twentieth century. Politicians responded by erecting great bureaucracies, increasingly relying on policy expertise and abstract notions of citizenship and, more recently, on networks of quasi-governmental and private organizations to deliver services using market-oriented techniques. Today, the state is an unwieldy edifice of nineteenth-century government buttressed by a sprawling substructure devoted to the very different idea of governance--and democracy has suffered. InDemocratic Governance, Bevir takes a comprehensive look at governance and the history and thinking behind it. He provides in-depth case studies of constitutional reform, judicial reform, joined-up government, and police reform. He argues that the best hope for democratic renewal lies in more interpretive styles of expertise, dialogic forms of policy making, and more diverse avenues for public participation.

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