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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.
|1||Norm and Form: The Constitutionalizing of Democracy||29|
|2||Democracy: An Idea of Ambiguous Ancestry||59|
|3||The Creation of a Legacy: A Manufactured Crisis in Eighteenth-Century Thought||81|
|4||Democracy, Power, and Imperialism in Fifth-Century Athens||103|
|5||How to Criticize Democracy in Late Fifth- and Fourth-Century Athens||149|
|6||Frank Speech, Democracy, and Philosophy: Plato's Debt to a Democratic Strategy of Civic Discourse||172|
|7||Democracy and Political Theory: A Reading of Plato's Gorgias||198|
|8||The Tragedy of Critical Theory||229|
|9||The Melting Pot, the Mosaic, and the Agora||252|
|10||Athenian Political Thought and the Feminist Politics of Poiesis and Praxis||265|
|11||The Zero Degree of Society: Aristotle and the Athenian Citizen||289|
|12||Two Democracies and Virtue||319|