Athenian Political Thought and the Reconstitution of American Democracy

Athenian Political Thought and the Reconstitution of American Democracy

by Peter Euben
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801481791

ISBN-13: 9780801481796

Pub. Date: 12/28/1994

Publisher: Cornell University Press

In the contemporary United States the image and experience of Athenian democracy has been appropriated to justify a profoundly conservative political and educational agenda. Such is the conviction expressed in this provocative book, which is certain to arouse widespread comment and discussion.

What does it mean to be a citizen in a democracy? Indeed, how do we

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Overview

In the contemporary United States the image and experience of Athenian democracy has been appropriated to justify a profoundly conservative political and educational agenda. Such is the conviction expressed in this provocative book, which is certain to arouse widespread comment and discussion.

What does it mean to be a citizen in a democracy? Indeed, how do we educate for democracy? These questions are addressed here by thirteen historians, classicists, and political theorists, who critically examine ancient Greek history and institutions, texts, and ideas in light of today's political practices and values. They do not idealize ancient Greek democracy. Rather, they use it, with all its faults, as a basis for measuring the strengths and shortcomings of American democracy. In the hands of the authors, ancient Greek sources become partners in an educational dialogue about democracy's past, one that goads us to think about the limitations of democracy's present and to imagine enriched possibilities for its future.

The authors are diverse in their opinions and in their political and moral commitments. But they share the view that insulating American democracy from radical criticism encourages a dangerous complacency that Athenian political thought can disrupt.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801481796
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/28/1994
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction1
1Norm and Form: The Constitutionalizing of Democracy29
2Democracy: An Idea of Ambiguous Ancestry59
3The Creation of a Legacy: A Manufactured Crisis in Eighteenth-Century Thought81
4Democracy, Power, and Imperialism in Fifth-Century Athens103
5How to Criticize Democracy in Late Fifth- and Fourth-Century Athens149
6Frank Speech, Democracy, and Philosophy: Plato's Debt to a Democratic Strategy of Civic Discourse172
7Democracy and Political Theory: A Reading of Plato's Gorgias198
8The Tragedy of Critical Theory229
9The Melting Pot, the Mosaic, and the Agora252
10Athenian Political Thought and the Feminist Politics of Poiesis and Praxis265
11The Zero Degree of Society: Aristotle and the Athenian Citizen289
12Two Democracies and Virtue319
Selected Bibliography341
Contributors347
Index349

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