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 →

On the Global Ascendance of China

Recently the Democracy Paradox featured three episodes about the Global Ascendance of China on its podcast. David Shambaugh's China Goes Global offers an early examination of this topic. So much has happened since its publication in 2013, but it remains a highly influential work to the study of China. The discussion below represent the thoughts and... Continue Reading →

What Military Missions Reveal About State Capacity

Military Missions in Democratic Latin America was first published in 2016. It offered an examination of the new roles the military had begun to handle in recent years. Its author, David Pion-Berlin, is a widely known scholar of civil-military relations in Latin America.  In this book, he went beyond traditional civil-military relations to consider the... Continue Reading →

Michel de Certeau – The Practice of Everyday Life

So many expectations burden democracy. There are conflicting expectations of representation. Some expect democracy to represent different viewpoints or ideologies while others expect a representation of diverse groups sorted by geography, gender, race, or other characteristics. There are expectations of merit. Leaders are expected to embody personal character, virtue, and most of all, leadership. But... Continue Reading →

John Dewey – Democracy and Education

My life has been a rebellion against traditional education. I have zig zagged between periods where I was overwhelmed by a desire to make a meaningful difference in the world and others where I simply wanted to study forever. University was never the right place for me because its assignments never aligned with my goals.... Continue Reading →

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