What is the Democracy Paradox?

The Democracy Paradox is a wide ranging theory of democracy. Every week I write a new part as I work through the different components of democratic theory. This is the first part of the first chapter called "Democracy Defined." Brief Account of Venezuela Unlike many of the democracies in Latin America, Venezuela’s democracy extends back... 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 in Democracies Podcast #35

 Thomas Carothers and Andrew O'Donohue explain the challenges of polarization in many different contexts around the world. Tom is the Senior Vice President for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Andrew is a nonresident assistant at Carnegie and in the PhD program in Harvard’s Department of Government. Together they are the editors... 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 →

After Democracy Podcast #31

Zizi Papacharissi discusses her book After Democracy with host Justin Kempf. Zizi has worked at the forefront on political communication in the digital age. She is a professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A transcript of the podcast is below.   What Comes After Democracy Political theorist Takis Pappas has described the... 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 →

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 →

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