This book is a highly original and provocative contribution to democratic theory. Zolo argues that the increasing complexity of modern societies represents a fundamental challenge to the basic assumptions of the Western democratic tradition and calls for a reformulation of some of the key questions of political theory.
Zolo maintains that, as modern societies become more complex and more involved in the `information revolution', they are subjected to new and unprecedented forms of evolutionary stress - as manifested, for instance, in the growing autonomy and power of political parties, and in new kinds of political communication which create and sustain the fiction of consensus. These forms of stress have become so serious that they threaten to undermine some of the values traditionally associated with democracy, such as the rationality and autonomy of the individual, and the visibility and accountability of power.
Danilo Zolo was previously Associate Professor at the University of Florence. He is the author of many books and more than 50 essays concerning political philosophy, epistemology of the social sciences, system theory and the theory of social complexity.
Preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Some General Assumptions. 2. Complexity and Political Theory. 3. Complexity and Democratic Theory. 4. The Evolutionary Risks of Democracy. 5. The Principality of Communication. 6. Conclusion: Toward a Realist Theory of Democracy. Select Bibliography. Index of Subjects. Index of Names.