1st Edition

Michael Saward

Published December 7, 2006
Reference - 1776 Pages
ISBN 9780415357067 - CAT# RU57063
Series: Critical Concepts in Political Science


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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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