Political Party Trajectories in the United States

The trajectory of each political party in the United States depends on a variety of factors. Some involve factors outside their control, but others involve decisions and strategies made over long periods of time. E.E. Schattschneider offered an important analysis of American politics in 1960 in his classic work The Semi-Sovereign People. Justin Kempf reflects on... Continue Reading →

Would a Leftist Populism be Democratic?

  In her most recent book, philosopher Chantal Mouffe imagines the potential for a leftist populism.Her book For a Left Populism strives to align her ideas of radical democracy through the vehicle of populism. Justin Kempf reflects on the nature of populism in the piece below.   What is Populism? The irony of populism is it... Continue Reading →

Can Deliberative Theory be Liberal?

John Dryzek is among the foremost scholars of deliberative democratic theory. His book Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations offers a strong defense of deliberative theory against rival schools of democratic theory. Justin Kempf reflects on this seminal work of deliberative democratic theory.  Liberal Democracy Defined Liberal democracy is a marriage between two independent ideas... Continue Reading →

The Public Sphere and the State

Jürgen Habermas is known for his conception of the public sphere. It is the foundation of his political theories related to democracy. The reflection below is based upon his book The Inclusion of the Other. Justin Kempf is the author.  The Political Philosophy of Habermas Jürgen Habermas occupies a place somewhere between philosophy and social science.... Continue Reading →

Radical Politics in the Philosophy of Marx

The radical politics of Marx has defined the far left. This reflection upon The German Ideology considers the similarities between the radical politics of the far right and the far left to explain the ideology of radicalism. Justin Kempf places Marx in a tradition of radical thought alongside Nietzsche where the radicalism of the left and... Continue Reading →

Belarus as Nation and Identity

The definitive work on Belarus remains the work of Andrew Wilson. Published in 2012, his book Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship is the best source for its history including the rise of Alexander Lukashenko. The recent protests will likely spark new scholarship into Belarus, but they will all begin with this book for the foreseeable... Continue Reading →

Deliberative Democracy as Political Theory

Deliberative Democracy has become an important school of democratic thought and theory. James Fishkin's When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation is a classic in this subfield of democracy scholarship. The article below is the reflection from Justin Kempf based on this book and some past Democracy Paradox Podcasts.  A Crisis of Democracy The... Continue Reading →

The Origins of Democracy in the Modern Era

Barrington Moore, Jr.'s classic work Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy continues to influence scholarship. Its publication in 1966 revolutionized how scholars thought about the relationship between economic, political, and social dynamics in the process of modernization. The reflection below is the work of Justin Kempf. The Origins of Democracy There is no single moment when... Continue Reading →

Agonism in Democratic Theory

Agonism is a key component in the philosophy of radical democracy. Chantal Mouffe explains this concept in her work Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically. Its publication in 2013 developed her theory of Agonism beyond her earlier works such as Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, The Return of the Political, The Democratic Paradox, and On the Political. The discussion... Continue Reading →

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