Democracy (Critical Concepts in Political Science) (4 Volume Set) (v. 1, v. 2, v. 3 & v)

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9780415357067: Democracy (Critical Concepts in Political Science) (4 Volume Set) (v. 1, v. 2, v. 3 & v)
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Democracy refers both to a political system and a political idea. As a name for a political system, it refers to the fact that the people themselves rule in some sense - indirectly through elected representatives in the modern period. As an idea, it stands for the desire to deepen and extend the ideal of self-government. Arguably, tensions between these two dimensions are part of democracy's flexibility and vibrancy as a concept. The two dimensions can be seen as two sides of the same coin, as democracy must be expressed as an idea before it can be practised.

This new Routledge Major Work, a four-volume collection of classic and cutting-edge scholarship, is built around the importance of the idea of democracy. It contains much material on democratic institutions, procedures and histories, all of which embodies or interprets the idea of democracy in informative or provocative ways. Materials have been chosen which are strong on theory, but which recognize that a key part of theory’s importance lies in its deep engagement with democratic practice. The main areas covered are:

  • classical and pre-twentieth-century theories
  • liberal democracy and its critics
  • democratic systems, institutions and measures
  • democracy around the world
  • democratic transitions and transformations
  • participative, direct and deliberative democracy
  • twenty-first-century challenges to democracy.

With a full index and a new introduction specially written by the editor, Democracy is destined to be welcomed by political scientists―and those working in allied fields―as an invaluable reference resource.

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From the Back Cover:

This new textbook invites readers to explore their own responses to debates about democracy's meaning. It provides tools for thinking actively about democracy as a practice, an ideal, and a site of contestation. Open-minded and written with genuine clarity for an undergraduate audience, Saward's book avoids providing easy answers to democracy's dilemmas. Instead, it offers to students the diverse approaches to democracy, showing how the key narratives of contemporary political life have been created and adapted.


Working through a series of compelling real and hypothetical cases, twentieth-century narratives of democracy and their roots, and major new challenges such as globalization and environmentalism, the book makes the ideal starting point both for students already curious and those needing to be enticed and provoked. It concludes with an extraordinary snapshot and appraisal of the new theories of democracy that are making waves in the twenty-first century, and invites informed speculation on the shape of the democracy of the future. Democracy includes an extensive glossary of types of democracy, as well as a guide to further reading.

About the Author:

Michael Saward is Professor of Politics at the Open University.

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