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 →

Democracy Without Elections Podcast #27

Hélène Landemore joins the Democracy Paradox to describe how democracy without elections or politicians is possible. Hélène is an associate professor at Yale University. Her research explores ways to reimagine institutions to better represent those governed and enhance their legitimacy.    Democratic Transformation The origin of the third wave of democratization is commonly dated to... 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 →

Mending Democracy Podcast #25

Carolyn Hendriks, Selen Ercan and John Boswell join the Democracy Paradox to discuss how everyday citizens are mending democracy. Their work is an important contribution to the school of thought known as Deliberative Democracy.   Making Democracy More Democratic There is a book that was written in 1989 called Democracy and its Critics. The renowned Robert... 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 →

John Ikenberry on Liberalism Podcast #22

  John Ikenberry joins the Democracy Paradox to explain liberal internationalism. This is the 22nd episode of the Democracy Paradox podcast and the first part of "Liberalism, Capitalism, Communism" about the Global Ascendance of China.   A World Safe for Democracy Democracy is often imagined at its purest at a micro level. Town hall meetings... Continue Reading →

Chantal Mouffe – On the Political

Condescension toward political polarization begins from a position of privilege. It requires an expectation of inclusion within the political process. Elites assume polarization is a problem with a simple cure. But the reality is it is a symptom of deeper systemic problems without simple solutions. Polarization is a manifestation of the politics of exclusion. It... Continue Reading →

E.B. White – On Democracy

My kids know E.B. White as the author of Charlotte’s Web. Both of my kids were expected to read this classic on their own. Some books are written for children to read rather than their parents to read to them. I held off reading The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham until... Continue Reading →

Chantal Mouffe – The Democratic Paradox

A paradox is distinct from a contradiction. Sometimes the two ideas are confused. They are used interchangeably in ways which remove the impact of the concept of paradox. It is true ‘paradox’ feels a bit more exotic than the more pedantic ‘contradiction.’ But this is no reason to distort its meaning. A contradiction is where... Continue Reading →

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