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Democracy and goodness: a historicist political theory

By: Wallach, John R.
Publisher: Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2018Description: xii, 310 p. It includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN: 9781108435567.Subject(s): Democracy - Moral and ethical aspects | Common good | Political ethicsDDC classification: 172 Summary: Citizens, political leaders, and scholars invoke the term 'democracy' to describe present-day states without grasping its roots or prospects in theory or practice. This book clarifies the political discourse about democracy by identifying that its primary focus is human activity, not consent. It points out how democracy is neither self-legitimating nor self-justifying and so requires critical, ethical discourse to address its ongoing problems, such as inequality and exclusion. Wallach pinpoints how democracy has historically depended on notions of goodness to ratify its power. The book analyses pivotal concepts of democratic ethics such as 'virtue', 'representation', 'civil rightness', 'legitimacy', and 'human rights' and looks at them as practical versions of goodness that have adapted democracy to new constellations of power in history. Wallach notes how democratic ethics should never be reduced to power or moral ideals. Historical understanding needs to come first to highlight the potentials and prospects of democratic citizenship. https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-theory/democracy-and-goodness-historicist-political-theory?format=HB&isbn=9781108422574
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Historicizing democratic ethics
2. Democracy and virtue in ancient Athens
3. Representation as a political virtue and the formation of liberal democracy
4. Civil rightness: a virtuous discipline for the modern Demos
5. Democracy and legitimacy: popular justification of states amid contemporary globalization
6. Human rights and democracy
Conclusion: political action and retrospection
Bibliography
Index.

Citizens, political leaders, and scholars invoke the term 'democracy' to describe present-day states without grasping its roots or prospects in theory or practice. This book clarifies the political discourse about democracy by identifying that its primary focus is human activity, not consent. It points out how democracy is neither self-legitimating nor self-justifying and so requires critical, ethical discourse to address its ongoing problems, such as inequality and exclusion. Wallach pinpoints how democracy has historically depended on notions of goodness to ratify its power. The book analyses pivotal concepts of democratic ethics such as 'virtue', 'representation', 'civil rightness', 'legitimacy', and 'human rights' and looks at them as practical versions of goodness that have adapted democracy to new constellations of power in history. Wallach notes how democratic ethics should never be reduced to power or moral ideals. Historical understanding needs to come first to highlight the potentials and prospects of democratic citizenship.

https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/political-theory/democracy-and-goodness-historicist-political-theory?format=HB&isbn=9781108422574

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