Why Politics Matters

Overview

Achieving mass democracy was the great triumph of the twentieth century. Learning to live with it will be the greatest achievement of the twenty-first century.
A rising tide of discontent is posing a major crisis for systems of mass democracy: the evidence is clear to see in reduced turnout and party membership and in opinion surveys. The failures of politicians have played their part but, Gerry Stoker argues, equally important are the dysfunctional political stances and styles ...

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Overview

Achieving mass democracy was the great triumph of the twentieth century. Learning to live with it will be the greatest achievement of the twenty-first century.
A rising tide of discontent is posing a major crisis for systems of mass democracy: the evidence is clear to see in reduced turnout and party membership and in opinion surveys. The failures of politicians have played their part but, Gerry Stoker argues, equally important are the dysfunctional political stances and styles adopted by many citizens. Democratic politics, he argues, is doomed to disappoint because it involves collective decision-making, demands complicated communication and generally produces a messy compromise--one size fits no one.
So what is the solution? Stoker suggests that democracy--and the political class--must create a new politics, making it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to express and debate their political preferences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An impressive overview of the growing popular disenchantment with democratic politics across the advanced world which offers much thoughtful reflection about its deeper roots. Gerry Stoker's provocative central argument--that the underlying problem is not alienation from democracy, but naïveté about politics itself--warrants the attention of anyone concerned about the future of political life. His conclusion that we need to create a new 'politics for amateurs' is the right challenge for us all."--Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University
"Readable, informative and insightful...dispels many misconceptions about what politics is and should be. His sober optimism, backed up by careful consideration of a wide range of evidence, provides a valuable corrective to the relentless negativity and cynicism towards politics peddled in so much of the media."--Andrew Gamble, University of Sheffield

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403997401
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,233,189
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

GERRY STOKER is Professor of Politics, University of Manchester.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
PART 1: MASS DEMOCRACY: TRIUMPH AND DISAPPOINTMENT
The Triumph of Democracy?
An Age of Political Discontent?
Explanations of Political Disenchantment
The Politics of Disappointment
PART 2: THE PATHOLOGIES OF POLITICAL PRACTICE
The Decline of Citizen Engagement?
The Professionalization of Activism?
The Dangers of Cynicism
The Perils of Populism
PART 3: SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS
Towards a Politics for Amateurs
Reviving Political Institutions
Creating a New Civic Arena
Conclusion

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