In this prize-winning book, one of the most prominent political theorists of our time makes a major statement about what democracy is and why it is important. Robert Dahl examines the most basic assumptions of democratic theory, tests them against the questions raised by its critics, and recasts the theory of democracy into a new and coherent whole. He concludes by discussing the directions in which democracy must move if advanced democratic states are to exist in the future.
"When Robert Dahl speaks about democracy, everyone should listen. With Democracy and Its Critics Dahl has produced a work destined to become another classic."-Lucian W. Pye, American Political Science Review
"In this magisterial work [Dahl]... describe[s] what democracy means...; why our own democracy is still deeply flawed; and how we could reform it.... A work of extraordinary intelligence and, what is even rarer, a work of extraordinary wisdom."-Robert N. Bellah, New York Times Book Review
Robert A. Dahl, Sterling Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Yale Universtiy, is also the author of Who Governs?, After the Revolution?, Polyarchy, and Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy, all available from Yale University Press.
Part 1 The sources of modern democracy: the first transformation - to the democratic city-state; toward the second transformation - republicanism, representation, and the logic of equality. Part 2 Adversarial critics: anarchism; guardianship; a critique of guardianship. Part 3 A theory of the democratic process: justifications - the idea of equal intrinsic worth; personal autonomy; a theory of the democratic process; the problem of inclusion. Part 4 Problems in the democratic process: majority rule and the democratic process; majority rule - practise; process and substance; process versus process; when is a people entitled to the democratic process? Part 5 The limits and possibilities of democracy: the second democratic transformation - from the city-state to the nation-state; democracy, polyarchy, and participation; how polyarchy developed in some countries and not others; is minority domination inevitable?; pluralism, polyarchy and the common good; common good as process and substance. Part 6 Toward a third transformation: democracy in tomorrow's world; sketches for an advanced democratic country.