OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Spirit of Democracy: Corruption, Disintegration, Renewal

ISBN : 9780192898869

Price(incl.tax): 
¥15,345
Author: 
Sofia Nasstroem
Pages
336 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jun 2021
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How does one revitalize democracy in times of crisis? Democracy is today challenged by populism and elitism, as well as by the resurgence of new forms of authoritarianism. The Spirit of Democracy: Corruption, Disintegration, Renewal shows that while we have good reasons to worry about the corruption of democratic practices and ideals, these worries are often attributable to questionable assumptions about what democracy is. Drawing on Montesquieu's classical work on the spirit of laws, the book sets out to reconceive the ways in which we understand and conceptualise modern democracy: from sovereignty to spirit. According to Montesquieu, different political forms are animated and sustained by different spirits: a republic by virtue, a monarchy by honour, and a despotic form by fear. This book argues that modern democracy is a sui generis political form animated and sustained by a spirit of emancipation. The removal of divine, natural, and historical authorities in political affairs unleashes a fundamental uncertainty about the purpose and direction of society. In a democracy, we respond to that uncertainty by sharing and dividing it equally. It emancipates us from a state of self-incurred tutelage. Based on this argument, the book develops a new theoretical framework for studying the corruption, disintegration, and renewal of democracy: what it is, how it begins, and where in society it plays out.

Index: 

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
PART I: THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY
1 Rousseau's people trap
2 The principle of emancipation
3 Democratic freedom
PART II: THREE CONTESTED ISSUES
4 Election
5 Social rights
6 Citizenship status
Conclusion

About the author: 

Sofia Nasstrom is Professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. She specializes in political theory, and has written on topics related to democracy, legitimacy, the people, and representation. She leads the project Democratic Self-Defence: The Social Model at Uppsala University, and has recently published a popular science book on democracy in Swedish.

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