Democracy Deferred: Civic Leadership after 9/11 by David W. Woods
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Overview: The day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks destroyed New York’s World Trade Center, civic leaders began to organize four coalitions that aimed to give ordinary citizens a chance to meet, to heal, and to be heard in rebuilding decisions. This book tells the inside story of the civic renewal movement they founded, including their motives, their methods, the obstacles they faced, and the lessons their five-year effort offers for the future. The methods used in researching this book include participant observation as a leader of these civic renewal efforts, interviews with thirty-six leaders, and data from public archives.
Genre: Non-Fiction > General
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From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory Voting by way of Judith Brett
Requirements: .ePUB reader, three MB
Overview: It’s obligatory to vote in Australia.
We are one in every of a handful of nations on the earth that put in force this rule at election time, and the one English-speaking nation that makes its electorate vote.
Not best that, we embody it. We have fun obligatory vote casting with barbeques and cake stalls at polling stations, and election events that spill over into Sunday morning.
But how did this come to be: when and why used to be vote casting in Australia made obligatory? How has this affected our politics? And how else is the best way we vote other from different democracies?
Lively and galvanizing, From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage is a landmark account of the nature of Australian democracy by way of the prestigious historian Judith Brett, the prize-winning biographer of Alfred Deakin.
Genre: Non-Fiction > General
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Re-Imagining Democracy in the Mediterranean, 1780-1860 by Joanna Innes, Mark Philp
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Overview: Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions charts a transformation in the way people thought about democracy in the North Atlantic region in the years between the American Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the mid-eighteenth century, ‘democracy’ was a word known only to the literate. It was associated primarily with the ancient world and had negative connotations: democracies were conceived to be unstable, warlike, and prone to mutate into despotisms. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the word had passed into general use, although it was still not necessarily an approving term. In fact, there was much debate about whether democracy could achieve robust institutional form in advanced societies.
In this volume, a cast of internationally-renowned contributors shows how common trends developed throughout the United States, France, Britain, and Ireland, particularly focussing on the era of the American, French, and subsequent European revolutions. Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions argues that ‘modern democracy’ was not invented in one place and then diffused elsewhere, but instead was the subject of parallel re-imaginings, as ancient ideas and examples were selectively invoked and reworked for modern use. The contributions significantly enhance our understanding of the diversity and complexity of our democratic inheritance.
Genre: Non-Fiction > History > Democracy
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Listening for Democracy: Recognition, Representation, Reconciliation by Andrew Dobson
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Overview: Although much prized in daily conversation, good listening has been almost completely ignored in that form of political conversation we know as democracy. This book examines the reasons why so little attention has been paid to the listening aspect of democratic conversation, explores the role that listening might play in democracy, and outlines some institutional changes that could be made to make listening more central to democratic processes.
The focus on listening amounts to a reorientation of democratic theory and practice, providing novel perspectives on enduring themes in democracy such as recognition, representation, power and legitimacy–as well as some new ones, such as silence. Eschewing the pessimism of the ‘realist’ turn in democratic theory, the book shows how attention to listening can breathe life into the democratic project and help us to realise some of its objectives.
Drawing on practical examples and multidisciplinary sources, the book shows how listening should be at the heart or representative and deliberative democracy rather than peripheral to them. It develops a notion of dialogic democracy based on structured, ‘apophatic’, listening, and meets the challenge of showing how this could be incorporated in parliamentary democracies.
What should we be listening out for? This book addresses the question of political noise and uses the idea of recognition to develop an account of politics that takes us beyond the Aristotelian speaking being towards a Deweyan notion of the ‘event’ around which publics coalesce.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Educational > Social Sciences > Political Science
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Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and the Breakdown of American Politics by Stephen E. Gottlieb
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Overview: Since its founding, Americans have worked hard to nurture and protect their hard-won democracy. And yet few consider the role of constitutional law in America’s survival. In Unfit for Democracy, Stephen Gottlieb argues that constitutional law without a focus on the future of democratic government is incoherent-illogical and contradictory. Approaching the decisions of the Roberts Court from political science, historical, comparative, and legal perspectives, Gottlieb highlights the dangers the court presents by neglecting to interpret the law with an eye towards preserving democracy.
A senior scholar of constitutional law, Gottlieb brings a pioneering will to his theoretical and comparative criticism of the Roberts Court. The Roberts Court decisions are not examined in a vacuum but instead viewed in light of constitutional politics in India, South Africa, emerging Eastern European nations, and others. While constitutional decisions abroad have contributed to both the breakdown and strengthening of democratic politics, decisions in the Roberts Court have aggravated the potential destabilizing factors in democratic governments. Ultimately, Unfit for Democracy calls for an interpretation of the Constitution that takes the future of democracy seriously. Gottlieb warns that the Roberts Court’s decisions have hurt ordinary Americans economically, politically, and in the criminal process. They have damaged the historic American melting pot, increased the risk of anti-democratic paramilitaries, and clouded the democratic future.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Educational
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Democracy: A Life by Paul Cartledge
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Overview: Ancient Greece first coined the concept of "democracy," yet almost every major ancient Greek thinker-from Plato and Aristotle onwards- was ambivalent towards or even hostile to democracy in any form. The explanation for this is quite simple: the elite perceived majority power as tantamount to a dictatorship of the proletariat.
In ancient Greece there can be traced not only the rudiments of modern democratic society but the entire Western tradition of anti-democratic thought. In Democracy, Paul Cartledge provides a detailed history of this ancient political system. In addition, by drawing out the salient differences between ancient and modern forms of democracy he enables a richer understanding of both.
Cartledge contends that there is no one "ancient Greek democracy" as pure and simple as is often believed. Democracy surveys the emergence and development of Greek politics, the invention of political theory, and-intimately connected to the latter- the birth of democracy, first at Athens in c. 500 BCE and then at its greatest flourishing in the Greek world 150 years later. Cartledge then traces the decline of genuinely democratic Greek institutions at the hands of the Macedonians and-subsequently and decisively-the Romans. Throughout, he sheds light on the variety of democratic practices in the classical world as well as on their similarities to and dissimilarities from modern democratic forms, from the American and French revolutions to contemporary political thought. Authoritative and accessible, Cartledge’s book will be regarded as the best account of ancient democracy and its long afterlife for many years to come.
Genre: Non-Fiction > History
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