The Encyclopedia of Democracy

ISBN 13: 9780871876751

The Encyclopedia of Democracy

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9780871876751: The Encyclopedia of Democracy

With over 400 articles written by more than 200 international scholars, readers gain access to all aspects of democracy from its earliest stirrings to such recent developments as the end of eastern European communism and South African apartheid.The Encyclopedia is richly illustrated with photographs, maps, and charts, and is alphabetically arranged, carefully indexed, and abundantly cross-referenced for easy access and research.

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About the Author:

Seymour Martin Lipset is Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University. He is former president of the American Political Science Association and of the American Sociological Association. He is the author of over 20 books and nearly 400 articles.

From Booklist:

This is CQ's first venture in publishing a multivolume encyclopedia. Until now, Simon & Schuster and Scribner have been the primary publishers of political science encyclopedias, with such titles as Encyclopedia of the American Presidency and Encyclopedia of American Political History. The editor of this new encyclopedia, which is international in scope, is social scientist Lipset, author of Union Democracy, Political Man, and more than 20 other books. In the introduction, Lipset discusses the many variations in the definition of democracy. He points out that in the more than 400 articles in this set, the contributors represent a wide variety of viewpoints, not consensus. The editors did, however, identify the core features of democracy--fair elections at regular intervals, selection of leaders and formation policy by the electorate, and the existence of civil and political liberties.

The articles are of four types--biographical (121), country studies (70), regional overviews (17), and topical (209). While most of the people for whom there are biographies--Plato, Marx, Ataturk, Churchill--are found in other reference works, the entries here focus on their contributions "to the theory, practice, or understanding of democracy." The country and regional studies treat most major nations, not just democratic ones. Topical entries cover such subjects as Dissidents, Fascism, and Freedom of Speech. There are entries on the relations of the major world religions with democracy, on economic issues, on historical subjects (Slavery), and on types of democracy (Christian Democracy, Social Democracy, etc.). All entries are at least a page in length and many are six or seven pages (e.g., African Transitions to Democracy, Voting Rights, Public Opinion).

The more than 200 contributors, who are listed in volume 1 with their affiliation and contributions, represent major universities--Georgetown, University of London, University of Chicago, University of Chile, Center for Policy Studies, Johannesburg. They include many distinguished scholars, including Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Lewis Coser. The first volume contains a list of the articles arranged by the four types (biographical, country studies, etc.), further subdivided by time period, country, or narrower topic. Volume 4 contains the text of 20 documents relating to the development of democracy, which span history from Pericles' funeral oration of 431 B.C. to the Summit of the Americas Declaration of Principles of 1994.

The articles are well written, using little jargon, and current. The Ukraine entry is so up-to-date that some of the points are more hope than reality. Many entries take a cross-cultural approach--the entry Affirmative Action entry touches on the topic in Southeast Asian countries as well as the U.S. Black-and-white photographs (mostly portraits), tables, and maps add to the text. The maps lack keys, so the text must be read to know that on a map of Africa, for example, the highlighted countries are all former Portuguese colonies. Maps on the endpapers of each volume depict which countries of the world are free, partly free, or not free. Most articles have extensive bibliographies, although a few of the biographical ones have none. See and see also references are liberally provided. The cumulative index included in each volume is detailed; for example, an article on African American theories of democracy cites Lani Guinier, who is then listed in the index.

This accessible encyclopedia will be useful to researchers in such fields as sociology, political philosophy, and history, as well as political science. There is no similar source. The Encyclopedia of Democracy is recommended for academic and large public and high-school libraries for patrons researching democracy at home or around the world.

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