Nebraska and Rural Conservatism Podcast #41

Ross Benes explains politics in rural Nebraska from his research and personal experience. His new book is Rural Rebellion: How Nebraska Became a Republican Stronghold.   The legislature is one of several examples of our history of being independent which is why I think it was such an important story to tell of Nebraska becoming like... Continue Reading →

Rural Consciousness as Political Identity

Rural consciousness has redefined the nature of identity politics as it shifts the dominant political conflicts from class to place. This is the second part of a series on political identity and its place within democratic theory. Rural Communities in Political Conflicts The divide between those dependent on an agricultural economy and an industrial economy... Continue Reading →

The Wisconsin Idea Podcast #40

Chad Alan Goldberg explains how the Wisconsin Idea led to the progressive reforms of the early 20th Century and how its renewal can revitalize democracy once again. We discuss his recent book Education for Democracy: Renewing the Wisconsin Idea.   They had an obligation to take the knowledge that they were developing, to take their expertise... Continue Reading →

Meritocratic Ideals Can Undermine Democracy

Michael Sandel describes the meritocratic ideal as a dystopian aspiration in The Tyranny of Merit. Justin Kempf reflects on this book and considers how meritocratic ambitions can undermine democratic governance. What is Justice Justice is an ideal divided between claims of inequality and equality. Philosophers as early as Plato and Aristotle defined it as what each... Continue Reading →

Polarization, Democratization, and the Arab Spring Podcast #39

Elizabeth (Liz) Nugent discusses how polarization affects the process of democratization through her experience in Tunisia and Egypt. Her recent book After Repression: How Polarization Derails Democratic Transition. Her work considers how legacies of repression create the conditions for polarization.    The focus on the individual people involved in this moment and their preexisting relationships for... Continue Reading →

Working Class Political Identities

Only in the last ten years have scholars begun to think of the working class as a political identity rather than simply an economic status. The thoughts below are the first on a series of posts based on political identity. Justin Kempf reflects on working class as a political identity through a reflection of Arlie Russell... Continue Reading →

Placemaking in 21st Century America Podcast #38

Ryan Salzman joins the Democracy Paradox to discuss how placemaking shapes communities. His recent book Pop-Up Civics in 21st Century America explains how associational relationships have changed over the last twenty years through the creation of temporary institutions and activities. Ryan follows in the footsteps of Robert Putnam and Alexis de Tocqueville to explain how informal associations... Continue Reading →

Does Inequality Hinder Economic Growth?

Thomas Piketty argues economic inequality is an obstacle for economic growth in his latest book Capital and Ideology. Justin Kempf reflects on the implications of this idea as he works to develop his own ideas of economics compatible with a political theory of democracy. An Institutional Theory of Economics It has never been clear for me... Continue Reading →

Democracy Unfolds Through the Aesthetic Podcast #37

 Kajri Jain joins the Democracy Paradox to discuss the relationship between democracy and the aesthetic. Her recent book Gods in the Time of Democracy explores the implications of the construction of large religious statues in India. The conversation explores ideas of the aesthetic, religion, Hindu Nationalism, Dalit identity, and the ways art shapes democracy.   We don't... Continue Reading →

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