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Democracy and the Limits of Self - Government : Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy - Adam Przeworski

Democracy and the Limits of Self - Government

Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy

Paperback Published: 14th June 2010
ISBN: 9780521140119
Number Of Pages: 216

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The political institutions under which we live today evolved from a revolutionary idea that shook the world in the second part of the eighteenth century : that a people should govern itself. Yet if we judge contemporary democracies by the ideals of self-government, equality, and liberty, we find that democracy is not what it was dreamt to be.

This book addresses central issues in democratic theory by analysing the sources of widespread dissatisfaction with democracies around the world. With attention throughout to historical and cross-national variations, the focus is on the generic limits of democracy in promoting equality, effective participation, control of governments by citizens, and liberty.

The conclusion is that although some of this dissatisfaction has good reasons, some is based on an erroneous understanding of how democracy functions.

About the Author

Adam Przeworski is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Politics at New York University. Previously, he was the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He is the author of thirteen books and numerous articles. His recent publications include Democracy and Development, co-authored with Michael R. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub and Fernando Limongi (2000), Democracy and the Rule of Law, co-edited with Jose Maria Maravall (2003), and States and Markets (2003). He is the recipient of the 2001 Woodrow Wilson Prize.

"Adam Przeworski's powerful and incisive book is the best informed and most impressive summary of what we have learnt in recent decades about the character and political significance of democracy in its current forms across the world and the forces which have carried it so far. It combines the normative force and generosity of a vivid egalitarianism and the clarity and frankness of the soberest realism with an acutely sensitive and impressively cosmopolitan political judgment. Anyone who wishes to understand what democracy now means or to judge what its prospects are in future decades would be well advised to start off now from Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government." -John Dunn, University of Cambridge "This book is a little gem, which summarizes the author's extensive knowledge of topics of crucial importance for all those interested in democracy: self-government, liberty, equality, agency, participation. The reader will find an approach carefully informed by the most advanced literature in the social sciences, including economics, political philosophy, political science, history and law, disciplines that Adam Przeworski handles with extraordinary expertise. The book is, most of all, a brilliant collection of important questions, which the author poses to us-and to himself-in his attempt to understand the limits and possibilities of democratic reform." -Roberto Gargarella, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas "Prezworski's book is a sobering account of the limits of democracy; yet it is sober without being cynical. An amazingly informed analytical description with a normative punch, the book tells us what democracy really is, and what we are entitled to hope for from it. Far from simply assuming what democracy should be, Przeworski's recommendations are guided by his acute sense of what democracy really is. This is an immensely important contribution." -Avishai Margalit, Institute for Advanced Study "If you have time to read one book about democracy, and only one, this should be it. It contains an engaging synthesis of arguments that Adam Przeworski has been developing for decades, leavened by an astonishing wealth of historical and contemporary data. Przeworski supplies a hardheaded defense of democracy as the best system yet devised to prevent politics from degenerating into civil war. He also explains why many democracies could do better at managing collective self government so as to strengthen freedom and choice, and he offers realistic strategies for reform. This is applied political theory at its best." -Ian Shapiro, Yale University, author of The Real World of Democratic Theory

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Democracy and ôDemocracyöp. 3
Ideals, Actions, and Interestsp. 9
Equality, Participation, Representation, and Libertyp. 12
Self-Government of the Peoplep. 17
The Ideal of Self-Governmentp. 17
ôSelf-Government of the Peopleöp. 18
Self-Government in the Presence of Heterogeneityp. 24
Democracy as a Method of Processing Conflictsp. 24
Self-Government and Rotation in Officep. 29
Second-Best Self-Governmentp. 31
Two Theoremsp. 32
A Caveatp. 39
Beyond Social Choice Theoryp. 42
A Brief History of Representative Institutionsp. 44
From Representative Institutions to Democracyp. 44
The Rise of Representative Institutionsp. 47
Suffragep. 48
Electoral Participationp. 53
Legislative-Executive Relationsp. 59
Equalityp. 66
Introductionp. 66
Pedigree: Aristocracy and Democracyp. 68
Democracy and Equalityp. 71
Do Suffrage Restrictions Violate Democratic Ideology?p. 74
Democracy and Propertyp. 80
Democracy and Income Distributionp. 84
Closing the Circlep. 92
Choice and Participationp. 99
Introductionp. 99
Choice in Electionsp. 101
Democracy and Participationp. 109
The Role of the People Between Electionsp. 111
Voting, Electing, and Civil Peacep. 117
Voting and Electingp. 117
Elections and Civil Peacep. 122
Agencyp. 125
Introductionp. 125
The Structure of Governmentp. 127
The Problem to be Solvedp. 127
Functions and Powersp. 128
The Balance of Powersp. 131
Divided Implies Limited?p. 136
Protecting the Status Quop. 138
Neutrality and Supermajorityp. 138
Bicameralism and Supermajority Rulep. 139
Some Factsp. 142
Democracy and Majority Rulep. 143
Citizens and Governmentsp. 145
Libertyp. 149
Introductionp. 149
Disabling Is Enablingp. 151
ôLiberty Is Everythingöp. 151
Liberty as Enumerated Rightsp. 153
Democracy as an Implementation of Self-Government in Our Timesp. 161
Referencesp. 173
Name Indexp. 191
Subject Indexp. 197
Country Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521140119
ISBN-10: 0521140110
Series: Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 14th June 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.4  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.355