A Passion for Democracy: American Essays

A Passion for Democracy: American Essays

5.0 1
by Benjamin R. Barber
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Benjamin Barber is one of America's preeminent political theorists. He has been a significant voice in the continuing debate about the nature and role of democracy in the contemporary world. A Passion for Democracy collects twenty of his most important writings on American democracy. Together they refine his distinctive position in democratic theory.

…  See more details below

Overview

Benjamin Barber is one of America's preeminent political theorists. He has been a significant voice in the continuing debate about the nature and role of democracy in the contemporary world. A Passion for Democracy collects twenty of his most important writings on American democracy. Together they refine his distinctive position in democratic theory. Barber's conception of "strong democracy" contrasts with traditional concepts of "liberal democracy," especially in its emphasis on citizen participation in central issues of public debate. These essays critique the "thin representation" of liberal democracy and buttress the arguments presented in Barber's twelve books, most recently in his well-received Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Re-shaping the World. In these pieces, Barber argues for participatory democracy without dependence on abstract metaphysical foundations, and he stresses the relationship among democracy and civil society, civic education, and culture.

A Passion for Democracy is divided into four sections. In the first, "American Theory: Democracy, Liberalism, and Rights," Barber addresses issues of ongoing relevance to today's debates about the roots of participatory democracy, including individualism vs. community, the importance of consent, and the irrelevance of Marxism. Essays in the second section, "American Practice: Leadership, Citizenship, and Censorship" provide a "strong democracy" critique of American democratic practice. "Education for Democracy: Civic Education, Service, and Citizenship" applies Barber's theories to three related topics and includes his much-discussed essay "America Skips School." The final section, "Democracy and Technology: Endless Frontier or End of Democracy?" provides glimpses into a future that technology alone cannot secure for democracy.

In his preface, Barber writes: "In these essays ... I have been hard on my country. Like most ardent democrats, I want more for it than it has achieved, despite the fact that it has achieved more than most people have dared to want." This wide-ranging collection displays not only his passion for democracy, but also his unique perspective on issues of abiding importance for the democratic process.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Newark Star-Ledger
Enlightening.... Politicians and history teachers, citizens even, would be wise to pick up this collection.
— Kathleen Daley
Newark Star-Ledger - Kathleen Daley
Enlightening.... Politicians and history teachers, citizens even, would be wise to pick up this collection.
Reason - Loren Lomasky
The essays in A Passion for Democracy offer nuggets of keen historical insight and every so often connect with a sharp dart to the complacent regions of liberal capitalism. . . . It doesn't hurt that, in an arena in which turgid, jargon-ridden prose is the rule, Barber can spin a phrase with the dexterity of Derek Jeter turning a double-play at second base.
From the Publisher
"Barber opens up the way for reexamining just what our role must be in the cause of Democracy. A stunning and sobering look at civil society at the century's end."Virginia Quarterly Review

"Overall, the work is typical Barber: well written, conceptually fascinating, and astutely relevant."Choice

"Enlightening.... Politicians and history teachers, citizens even, would be wise to pick up this collection."—Kathleen Daley, Newark Star-Ledger

"The essays in A Passion for Democracy offer nuggets of keen historical insight and every so often connect with a sharp dart to the complacent regions of liberal capitalism. . . . It doesn't hurt that, in an arena in which turgid, jargon-ridden prose is the rule, Barber can spin a phrase with the dexterity of Derek Jeter turning a double-play at second base."—Loren Lomasky, Reason

Virginia Quarterly Review
Barber opens up the way for reexamining just what our role must be in the cause of Democracy. A stunning and sobering look at civil society at the century's end.
Choice
Overall, the work is typical Barber: well written, conceptually fascinating, and astutely relevant.
Reason
The essays in A Passion for Democracy offer nuggets of keen historical insight and every so often connect with a sharp dart to the complacent regions of liberal capitalism. . . . It doesn't hurt that, in an arena in which turgid, jargon-ridden prose is the rule, Barber can spin a phrase with the dexterity of Derek Jeter turning a double-play at second base.
— Loren Lomasky
Library Journal
In this thought-provoking anthology, political theorist Barber (Jihad v. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the New World, LJ 8/95) has collected and revised 20 of his essays examining the strengths and weaknesses of various political ideas that have shaped American political thought. He often waxes poetic as he argues in erudite prose that America has swung too far to "liberal democracy," emphasizing individual rights at the expense of citizen participation and consent. Barber believes that the aim of democracy should be "harmony" resulting from citizen involvement rather than the "cacophony" that results from libertarianism. Ultimately, Barber claims, this "harmony" is created not by accepting one or another idea of government but by the active involvement of citizens in the political process. Frequent references to classical and contemporary political philosophers buttress the author's closely reasoned narratives. Though not easy reading, Barber's clear, stylistic prose offers readers an incisive look into the ideas that have formed their government. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691050249
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/13/2000
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.17(h) x 0.77(d)

What People are saying about this

William Galston
If I were to put together a short list of a dozen scholars who might...contribute to the rhetoric and thought of a presidency, I would put Ben Barber on the list.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >