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Degenerations of Democracy  By  cover art

Degenerations of Democracy

By: Craig Calhoun,Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar,Charles Taylor
Narrated by: Adam Barr
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Publisher's Summary

Democracy is in trouble. Populism is a common scapegoat, but not the root cause. More basic are social and economic transformations eroding the foundations of democracy, ruling elites trying to lock in their own privilege, and cultural perversions like making individualistic freedom the enemy of democracy's other crucial ideals of equality and solidarity. In Degenerations of Democracy, three of our most prominent intellectuals investigate democracy gone awry, locate our points of fracture, and suggest paths to democratic renewal.

In Charles Taylor's phrase, democracy is a process, not an end state. Taylor documents creeping disempowerment of citizens, failures of inclusion, and widespread efforts to suppress democratic participation, and he calls for renewing community. Craig Calhoun explores the impact of disruption, inequality, and transformation in democracy's social foundations. He reminds us that democracies depend on republican constitutions as well as popular will, and that solidarity and voice must be achieved at large scales as well as locally.

Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar points out that even well-designed institutions will not integrate everyone, and inequality and precarity make matters worse. He calls for democracies to be prepared for violence and disorder at their margins—and to treat them with justice, not oppression.

©2022 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2022 Tantor

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