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Democracy may not exist, but we'll miss it when it's gone

by Taylor, Astra,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 4 of 4 copies
Available (4)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Lawrenceville Non-Fiction Collection JC423.T3195 2019
Location  CLP - Lawrenceville
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  JC423.T3195 2019
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction JC423.T3195 2019
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  JC423.T3195 2019
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction JC423.T3195 2019
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  JC423.T3195 2019
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 321.8 TAYLOR
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  321.8 TAYLOR

What is democracy really? What do we mean when we use the term? And can it ever truly exist? Astra Taylor, hailed as a "New Civil Rights Leader" by the Los Angeles Times , provides surprising answers.

There is no shortage of democracy, at least in name, and yet it is in crisis everywhere we look. From a cabal of plutocrats in the White House to gerrymandering and dark-money compaign contributions, it is clear that the principle of government by and for the people is not living up to its promise.

The problems lie deeper than any one election cycle. As Astra Taylor demonstrates, real democracy--fully inclusive and completely egalitarian--has in fact never existed. In a tone that is both philosophical and anecdotal, weaving together history, theory, the stories of individuals, and interviews with such leading thinkers as Cornel West and Wendy Brown, Taylor invites us to reexamine the term. Is democracy a means or an end, a process or a set of desired outcomes? What if those outcomes,whatever they may be--peace, prosperity, equality, liberty, an engaged citizenry--can be achieved by non-democratic means? In what areas of life should democratic principles apply? If democracy means rule by the people, what does it mean to rule and who counts as the people?

Democracy's inherent paradoxes often go unnamed and unrecognized. Exploring such questions, Democracy May Not Exist offers a better understanding of what is possible, what we want, why democracy is so hard to realize, and why it is worth striving for.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Writer and filmmaker Taylor follows her 2018 documentary What Is Democracy? with this wide-ranging "inquiry into democracy as a balance of paradoxes, an exploration of opposites" to "gain better insight into why the challenge of self-rule is so great." Each chapter focuses on a binary that influences democracy (freedom/equality, coercion/choice, inclusion/exclusion, expertise/mass opinion), chipping away at what democracy is not and revealing that the binaries themselves are more complicated than they seem. A consensus-based system (unlimited choice) will run into deadlock and fall apart, for example, if there is no provision for decisions to be made swiftly (coercion) when necessary. From ancient Athens to modern-day Greece, from the social democratic Scandinavian countries to the monarchy-turned-democracy of Bhutan, Taylor searches the world (mostly the West) for often unexpected examples (pirates, for instance, had one of the most egalitarian societal frameworks ever seen). However, she always returns to class and the U.S., examining gerrymandering, the founding fathers, and the rise and fall of Occupy Wall Street. Taylor clearly communicates her vision of democracy: always in flux, never certain, more an ideal than a realized system, but always something to strive for. This unusual and challenging work is worth the effort. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Democracy -- Philosophy.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Democracy may not exist, but we will miss it when it is gone
Language English
Description x, 357 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 313-339) and index.
ISBN 9781250179845
Other Classic View