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Why Democracy Is Oppositional

Medearis, John

Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674725336 / ISBN 13: 9780674725331
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Why Democracy Is Oppositional

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New


John Medearis argues that democracies face challenges which go beyond civic lethargy and unreasonable debate. Democracy is inherently a fragile state of affairs because citizens create the very institutions that overwhelm them. Hostile threats are the product of their own collective activities, and preserving democracy will always entail struggle. Num Pages: 257 pages. BIC Classification: HPS; JPA; JPHV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 243 x 165 x 26. Weight in Grams: 536. . 2015. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780674725331

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Is infrequent voting the most we can expect from a free citizenry? Would democracy be more robust if our political discourse were more deliberative? John Medearis?s trenchant and trend-bucking work of political philosophy argues that democracies face significant challenges that go beyond civic lethargy and unreasonable debate. Democracy is inherently a fragile state of affairs, he reminds us. Revisiting fundamental questions about the system in theory and practice, Why Democracy Is Oppositional helps us see why preserving democracy has always been?and will always be?a struggle.

As citizens of democracies seek political control over their destinies, they confront forces that threaten to dominate their lives. These forces may take the form of runaway financial markets, powerful special interests, expanding militaries, or dysfunctional legislatures. But citizens of democracies help create the very institutions that overwhelm them. Hostile threats do not generally come from the outside but are the product of citizens? own collective activities. Medearis contends that democratic action perpetually arises to reclaim egalitarian control over social forces and institutions that have become alienated from large numbers of citizens. Democracy is therefore necessarily oppositional. Concerted, contentious political activities of all kinds are fundamental to it, while consensus and easy compromise are rarities.

Recovering insights from political theorists such as Karl Marx and John Dewey, Why Democracy Is Oppositional addresses contemporary issues ranging from the global financial crisis and economic inequality to drone warfare and mass incarceration.

About the Author: John Medearis is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Riverside.

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