Rowman and Littlefield International

Democracy

By Jack Lively

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.

Paperback ISBN: 9780955248801 Release date: Jun 2007
£16.00 €22.00 $27.00

Pages: 130

ECPR Press

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.

contents

NEW INTRODUCTION: By Andrew Reeve1

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION13

CHAPTER TWO: THE MEANING OF DEMOCRACY18

The Majority Principle19

The extent of citizenship19

Majority decision21

Political equality31

The Rule of the People32

Possible requirements of popular rule32

Insufficient requirements34

Responsible government41

Conclusion45

CHAPTER THREE: THEORIES OF DEMOCRACY49

Classification or Ideal Types49

Empirical Generalizations54

The conditions of democracy55

The explanatory value of empirical theory62

The normative content of empirical theory64

Deductive Models73

An economic theory of democracy73

Economic theory as a recommendatory theory75

Economic theory as an explanatory theory80

Explanations of elections84

Utopian Schemes87

CHAPTER FOUR: THE ENDS OF DEMOCRACY90

The General Interest90

The Common Good95

Liberty100

Participation103

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION115

INDEX119

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.

Read more

Read less

Also Recommended