Jack Lively, who died in 1998, published Democracy in 1975. It is a 'classic' because it deals with a large and highly controversial subject in a brief, clear and definite way. It exemplifies the art of producing a short book on a large subject, written with quiet authority that inspires the reader's confidence in the judgements being made. Part of this authoritativeness derives from his perspective being richly informed by historical study. The central thesis is that the meaning of democracy is political equality. Less explicitly but importantly, there are two related sub-themes: the relationship between political equality and social equality, and the need (as Lively saw it) to consider political equality as one of a number of desirable social values which might need to be weighed in the balance. This thesis, and these themes, are in one way timeless; and the book may justly be regarded as a classic exposition of the political equality characterisation of democracy. In another way, the book is a classic because it deals with a particular period in the academic debate about democracy: when the value (and even the possibility) of normative enquiry was widely doubted; when the status of 'political theory' was challenged both in the discipline of politics and by the claims of other 'modes of theorising' (Lively's term); and, above all, when the value (and even possibility) of democracy itself was strenuously contested.
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Jack Lively's central concerns in political theory were the study of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought, in particular the study of democracy, and the defence of liberal values of rational political engagement and ameliorative social policy. Political theory was to be pursued by combining political realism with moral seriousness. He wished to resist (once?) fashionable ideas about the death of liberalism, the impossibility of rational political discourse, and the allegedly crippling relativity of morality.
Table of Contents
contents NEW INTRODUCTION: By Andrew Reeve 1 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 13 CHAPTER TWO: THE MEANING OF DEMOCRACY 18 The Majority Principle 19 The extent of citizenship 19 Majority decision 21 Political equality 31 The Rule of the People 32 Possible requirements of popular rule 32 Insufficient requirements 34 Responsible government 41 Conclusion 45 CHAPTER THREE: THEORIES OF DEMOCRACY 49 Classification or Ideal Types 49 Empirical Generalizations 54 The conditions of democracy 55 The explanatory value of empirical theory 62 The normative content of empirical theory 64 Deductive Models 73 An economic theory of democracy 73 Economic theory as a recommendatory theory 75 Economic theory as an explanatory theory 80 Explanations of elections 84 Utopian Schemes 87 CHAPTER FOUR: THE ENDS OF DEMOCRACY 90 The General Interest 90 The Common Good 95 Liberty 100 Participation 103 CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION 115 INDEX 119
Democracy by Jack Lively
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Rowman & Littlefield International
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