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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Populist Logic and Populist Mindset

A populist logic is necessary to understand the populist mindset. Justin Kempf reflects on Ernesto Laclau's classic On Populist Reason to construct a sense of logic within a largely illogical political mindset.  What is Populism? Populism implies widespread support. It indicates popular public policies. So it may come as a surprise populists do not always win... Continue Reading →

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 →

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