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A Passion for Democracy : American Essays - Benjamin R. Barber

A Passion for Democracy

American Essays

Paperback Published: 2nd April 2000
ISBN: 9780691050249
Number Of Pages: 320

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Benjamin Barber is one of America's preeminent political theorists. He has been a significant voice in the continuing debate about the nature and role of democracy in the contemporary world. "A Passion for Democracy" collects twenty of his most important writings on American democracy. Together they refine his distinctive position in democratic theory. Barber's conception of "strong democracy" contrasts with traditional concepts of "liberal democracy," especially in its emphasis on citizen participation in central issues of public debate. These essays critique the "thin representation" of liberal democracy and buttress the arguments presented in Barber's twelve books, most recently in his well-received "Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Re-shaping the World." In these pieces, Barber argues for participatory democracy without dependence on abstract metaphysical foundations, and he stresses the relationship among democracy and civil society, civic education, and culture.

"A Passion for Democracy" is divided into four sections. In the first, "American Theory: Democracy, Liberalism, and Rights," Barber addresses issues of ongoing relevance to today's debates about the roots of participatory democracy, including individualism vs. community, the importance of consent, and the irrelevance of Marxism. Essays in the second section, "American Practice: Leadership, Citizenship, and Censorship" provide a "strong democracy" critique of American democratic practice. "Education for Democracy: Civic Education, Service, and Citizenship" applies Barber's theories to three related topics and includes his much-discussed essay "America Skips School." The final section, "Democracy and Technology: Endless Frontier or End of Democracy?" provides glimpses into a future that technology alone cannot secure for democracy.

In his preface, Barber writes: "In these essays ... I have been hard on my country. Like most ardent democrats, I want more for it than it has achieved, despite the fact that it has achieved more than most people have dared to want." This wide-ranging collection displays not only his passion for democracy, but also his unique perspective on issues of abiding importance for the democratic process.

Industry Reviews

"Barber opens up the way for reexamining just what our role must be in the cause of Democracy. A stunning and sobering look at civil society at the century's end."--Virginia Quarterly Review "Overall, the work is typical Barber: well written, conceptually fascinating, and astutely relevant."--Choice "Enlightening... Politicians and history teachers, citizens even, would be wise to pick up this collection."--Kathleen Daley, Newark Star-Ledger "The essays in A Passion for Democracy offer nuggets of keen historical insight and every so often connect with a sharp dart to the complacent regions of liberal capitalism... It doesn't hurt that, in an arena in which turgid, jargon-ridden prose is the rule, Barber can spin a phrase with the dexterity of Derek Jeter turning a double-play at second base."--Loren Lomasky, Reason

American Theory: Democracy, Liberalism, and Rights
Liberal Democracy and the Costs of Consentp. 3
Foundationalism and Democracyp. 19
Why Democracy Must Be Liberal: An Epitaph for Marxismp. 31
The Compromised Republic: Public Purposelessness in Americap. 41
The Rights of We the People Are All the Rights There Arep. 60
Have Rights Gone Wrong? The Reconstruction of Rightsp. 79
American Practice: Leadership, Citizenship, and Censorship
Neither Leaders nor Followers: Citizenship under Strong Democracyp. 95
Command Performance: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?p. 111
The Undemocratic Party System: Citizenship in an Elite/Mass Societyp. 119
One Nation Indivisible or a Compact of Sovereign States? The Two Faces of Federalismp. 134
The Market as Censor in a World of Consumer Totalismp. 143
Education for Democracy: Civic Education, Service, and Citizenship
Thomas Jefferson and the Education of the Citizenp. 161
The Civic Mission of the Universityp. 178
Service, Citizenship, and Democracy: Civic Duty as an Entailment of Civil Rightp. 187
Cultural Conservatism and Democratic Education: Lessons from the Sixtiesp. 203
America Skips School: Why We Talk So Much about Education and Do So Littlep. 214
Education for Democracyp. 225
Democracy and Technology: Endless Frontier or End of Democracy?
The Second American Revolutionp. 237
Pangloss, Pandora, or Jefferson? Three Scenarios for the Future of Technology and Democracyp. 245
The New Telecommunications Technology: Endless Frontier or the End of Democracy?p. 258
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691050249
ISBN-10: 0691050244
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 2nd April 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.29 x 15.55  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.45