A timely and nuanced account of a simple word that has emerged
triumphantly from history, crying, "Power to the people!" Dunn
(Political Theory/King's College, Cambridge) comes at democracy
from all angles, exploring its changing meaning and impact from its
introduction in Athens by the nobleman Kleisthenes in 507 b.c. to
its growing dominance in the Western world since 1945. The word
itself comes from the Greek noun demokratia: power in the hands of
the demos-the people as a whole. Democracy flourished briefly in
Greece, where it became a basis for community of the rich and poor,
then virtually disappeared for 2,000 years until its reemergence in
the American and French revolutions of the 18th century. Drawing on
writers from Thucydides to Tocqueville, the author examines
democracy as a concept, as a form of government and as a political
value, showing how our understanding of its meaning has changed
with political expectations. Dunn's explications are often a bit
intricate, but readers will want to stay with him to find out how
we got where we are today. No matter the precise form of government
(presidential, parliamentary, etc.), democracies are always
characterized by ever-widening representation and the shared belief
that it must be the people who decide what is to be done. After
gaining new saliency worldwide during the Cold War, democracy has
become a political weapon in the post-9/11 era, with George W. Bush
declaring in 2002, "The global expansion of democracy is the
ultimate force in rolling back terrorism and tyranny." The author
questions whether democracy is the appropriate vehicle. Why, he
asks, would giving bitter people more control over their rulers
keep them from acting in support of terrorism? Expectations for
globalization aside, Dunn says democracy now stands as the
"political core of the civilization which the West offers to the
rest of the world." Essential backstory on the news from Iraq.
By viewing the astonishing history of democracy across two and a half millennia, this book shows why democracy today has both the power and the vulnerability which make it the key to understanding politics; and it explains why it has triumphed so decisively in the modern world.
Contributors: Simon Hornblower, Cynthia Farrar, Geoffrey Lloyd, Quentin Skinner, David Wootton, Gordon S. Wood, Biancamaria Fontana, Charles S. Maier, Neil Harding, Sunil Khilnani, Susan Mendus, Neal Ascherson, John Dunn
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!