Is Democracy a Lost Cause? explores the current debate on democracy. It starts by discussing the meaning of ‘democracy' and how the understanding of this important political concept has either broadened or contracted, depending on changing political circumstances. Mastropaolo then poses the question of what it means for democracy to be the ‘government of the people'. He deals with the way in which democratic government has been affected by changes in the fabric of society, by the evolution of democratic theory itself, and by the transformations affecting the state and political parties. Political class and citizens' attitudes towards democratic politics, increasingly characterised by resentment and often taking the form of an anti-politics, are analysed in the concluding chapters.
Chapter One: Controversial Definitions and Uncertain Boundaries 9
Chapter Two: The Government of the People 27
Chapter Three: Dispersion 57
Chapter Four: A Tale of Two Democracies 77
Chapter Five: Making the State by Other Means 101
Chapter Six: On Political Parties 123
Chapter Seven: The Democracy of Our Discontent 147
Chapter Eight: Antipolitics 169
Chapter Nine: A Political Class 189
Chapter Ten: Correctives 213
Alfio Mastropaolo is professor of Political Science at the University of Turin. Among his works are Antipolitica: Alle origini della crisi italiana (L'Ancora, Napoli, 2000), La mucca pazza della democrazia: Nuove destre, populismo, antipolitica (Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2005), The Center-Left's Poisoned Victory (edited with JL Briquet, Berghahn, New York, 2007).