Domestic Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Table of Contents
As a form of government, democracy enjoyed unparalleled prestige as the twenty-first century began. The most prosperous nations in the world were democracies. Moreover, democracy’s “third wave” had generated an unprecedented number of new republics in southern and eastern Europe as well as Latin America. ...
1. Democracy Challenged: Demography, Technology, and Democratic Possibilities
By its very nature, democracy is messy and chaotic, akin to making sausage. It is hardly surprising, then, that the process of establishing, maintaining, and improving democracy has been challenging and untidy since its reappearance in the eighteenth century. ...
Part I: Social Heterogeneity and Democracy: Challenges and Opportunities
2. Problems of Democratic Transition in Divided Societies
Moments of transition toward democracy are fraught with the danger of violence in ethnically divided societies. Democratization is typically intertwined with the rise of nationalism, a doctrine that demands self-rule for the nation. At such heady moments, nationalist movements in multiethnic societies often forge competing national aspirations. ...
3. Citizens, Identities, and Democratic Dialogues: Opportunities and Challenges of Diverse Societies
The twentieth century began with W. E. B. Du Bois stating that the problem of the twentieth century would be “the color line.” Du Bois’s judgment was correct then and it is a safe bet that race and ethnicity will play an equally important role in the twenty-first century, particularly in the politics of democratic regimes. ...
4. Democracy, Diversity, and Leadership
The problem of “diversity” was once thought to be a distinctively American problem—An American Dilemma, Myrdal called it. It was not, of course, that intolerance was thought to be peculiarly American. Hitler, after all, was in his heyday as Myrdal wrote. ...
5. Electoral Engineering, Social Cleavages, and Democracy
This chapter focuses on the potential for electoral engineering to serve as a tool to foster democracy, with a central concern being the role of electoral systems in mitigating ethnic conflict.1 With democracy’s “third wave” having produced a large number of new (or “renewed”) democracies, and numerous countries aspiring to become democracies, ...
Part II: Technology and Democracy: Mass-Elite Linkages in the Twenty-first Century
6. Technological Advances and Individual Liberties: Privacy and the Reach of the State in the Twenty-first Century
Privacy is a core component of a democracy, especially one whose governing structure is built upon notions of self-government and self-determination. Although the U.S. Constitution does not articulate it specifically as a corollary of democracy, individual privacy represents an important aspect of several rights itemized in the Bill of Rights;
7. Engineering Consent: The Persistence of a Problematic Communication Regime
In the early decades of the twentieth century, the emerging consensus among many elites, including public intellectuals such as Walter Lippmann, was that publics were so explosive and potentially threatening to national interests that governance required the new art of public relations to engineer consent. ...
8. The Internet and Political Fragmentation
Democracy requires the successful management of divisions in society. Often, the divisions of greatest concern for the health of democracy involve large-scale, persistent cleavages along well-demarcated lines: divisions within a state between linguistic or ethnic groups, or between regions with divergent economic structures and interests. ...
W. Lance Bennett is a professor of political science and the Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication at the University of Washington, where he also directs the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (www.engagedcitizen.org). ...