Life and Death of Democracy
* Book: The Life and Death of Democracy. By John Keane.
"The Life and Death of Democracy tries to remind the reader that every turn of phrase, every custom and every institution of democracy as we know it is time-bound. Democracy is not the timeless fulfilment of our political destiny. It is not a way of doing politics that has always been with us, or that will be our companion for the rest of human history. This book sets out to raise awareness of the brittle contingency of democracy, at a time when there are signs of mounting disagreement about its meaning, its efficacy and its desirability. Of course, democracy commonly refers to a special type of political system in which the people or their representatives lawfully govern themselves, rather than being governed, say, by a military dictatorship, totalitarian party or monarch. In recent decades, democracy in this sense has enjoyed unprecedented popularity. Democracy has become one of those English words - along with computer and OK - familiar to millions of people around the world. Some pundits speak of a global victory for democracy, or claim that democracy is now a universal good. Yet what the word means, and whether and why democracy is to be preferred over its rivals, continues to be disputed. Opinions remain divided about whether existing democracies like the United States, Britain, India or Argentina live up to their democratic ideals. These ideals are also controversial. The most common disagreement, a dispute that this book tries to settle, is between the advocates of 'participatory' or 'direct' democracy, understood as the participation of all citizens in decisions that affect their lives, for instance by voting and accepting a majority verdict; and those who favour 'indirect' or 'representative' democracy, a method of governing in which people choose, through voting and the public expression of their opinions, representatives who then decide things on their behalf." (http://www.thelifeanddeathofdemocracy.org/about/book_introduction.html)
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