Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (New in Paper)

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Overview

"With his fundamental grasp of political theory and restless spirit to get at the essence of what threatens modern democracy, Wolin demonstrates that the threats to our democratic traditions and institutions are not always from outside, but may come from within. It is a book that policymakers and scholars of contemporary society should read and reflect upon."—Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School, author of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands

"As we've come to expect from Sheldon Wolin, a tightly argued and deeply revealing book about the dangers of unconstrained capitalism for our democracy."—Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley

"For half a century, Sheldon Wolin has been one of the most distinguished and influential political theorists in the United States and a perceptive observer of the American political scene. In his magisterial latest book, Wolin shows himself at the height of his powers as he presents a highly original, sober, and persuasive account of a number of tendencies in contemporary American society that constitute a significant danger for the future of constitutional democracy. If totalitarianism establishes itself in the United States, it will be in the 'inverted' form Wolin analyzes in this important book."—Raymond Geuss, University of Cambridge

"Wolin's writing has a resonance that binds the canon of political philosophy to unfolding events and present circumstances. In Democracy Incorporated, he contends that the institutions and practices that Americans regarded as their defense against totalitarianism—and other forms of authoritarian domination—have failed them. There is nothing like this book. It is a major, potentially revolutionary contribution to political thought."—Anne Norton, author of Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire

"Powerful and persuasive. Democracy Incorporated does exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real."—Marc Stears, author of Progressives, Pluralists, and the Problems of the State

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Editorial Reviews

Truthdig
[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States—including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors.
— Chalmers Johnson
Choice
[Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
— C. P. Waligorski
International Affairs
Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume.
— Alex Waddan
Artforum
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process.
— Jonathan Crary
Out in Jersey
[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning.
— Toby Grace
Political Studies Review
Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty.
— Shih-Yu Chou
Journal of Church and State
[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency.
— Coleman Fannin
Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent.
— Tom Angier
Truthdig - Chalmers Johnson
[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States—including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors.
Choice - C.P. Waligorski
[Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
International Affairs - Alex Waddan
Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume.
Artforum - Jonathan Crary
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process.
Out in Jersey - Toby Grace
[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning.
Political Studies Review - Shih-Yu Chou
Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty.
Journal of Church and State - Coleman Fannin
[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency.
Marx & Philosophy Review of Books - Tom Angier
Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent.
Choice - C. P. Waligorski
[Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2008 Lannan Notable Book Award, Lannan Foundation

"[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States—including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors."—Chalmers Johnson, Truthdig

"[Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct."—C. P. Waligorski, Choice

"Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume."—Alex Waddan, International Affairs

"Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process."—Jonathan Crary, Artforum

"[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning."—Toby Grace, Out in Jersey

"Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty."—Shih-Yu Chou, Political Studies Review

"[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency."—Coleman Fannin, Journal of Church and State

"Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent."—Tom Angier, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Choice
[Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
— C. P. Waligorski
Artforum
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process.
— Jonathan Crary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691145891
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/21/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 199,203
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Sheldon S. Wolin is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University. His books include "Politics and Vision" and "Tocqueville between Two Worlds" (both Princeton).
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxv

Preview 1

Chapter 1 Myth in the Making 4

Chapter 2 Totalitarianism's Inversion: Beginnings of the Imaginary of a Permanent Global War 15

Chapter 3 Totalitarianism's Inversion, Democracy's Perversion 41

Chapter 4 The New World of Terror 69

Chapter 5 The Utopian Theory of Superpower: The Official Version 82

Chapter 6 The Dynamics of Transformation 95

Chapter 7 The Dynamics of the Archaic 114

Chapter 8 The Politics of Superpower: Managed Democracy 131

Chapter 9 Intellectual Elites against Democracy 159

Chapter 10 Domestic Politics in the Era of Superpower and Empire 184

Chapter 11 Inverted Totalitarianism: Antecedents and Precedents 211

Chapter 12 Demotic Moments 238

Chapter 13 Democracy's Prospects: Looking Backwards 259

Notes 293

Index 339

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Preliminary Review

    Professor Wolin's book deserves a careful, critical review that I am not able to write. The work very much impresses me. I think it an important and helpful work. Without way of French literary criticism or Frankfurt School theoretical sources, he presents a comprehensive and fundamental analysis of political and economic life in both the United States and the world. I had not realized at first that I had read Professor Wolin decades ago when I was an undergraduate. The argument is original, well-founded, even practical, and constructive. I will read it again soon and read it more closely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    One of the most important books I've ever read.

    Wolin connects all the dots of where we are, how we got there, and where we're headed, unless we make some drastic changes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

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    Posted April 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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