Subject: Political theory

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July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

The Enduring Vulnerability of Liberal Democracy

Liberal democracy has drawn its share of false indictments. But like any form of government, it has genuine weaknesses that can at best be managed. How well liberals navigate these inherent tensions may help determine the future of freedom.

January 2020, Volume 31, Issue 1

Democracy’s Inevitable Elites

Robert Michels’s classic work on the “iron law of oligarchy” can help us to understand why there is so much dissatisfaction with representative democracy.

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April 2018, Volume 29, Issue 2

The Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy

Across the West, economic, demographic, and cultural shifts have spurred the rise of populists who embrace majoritarianism and popular sovereignty while showing little commitment to constitutionalism and individual liberty. 

January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

Power Failure?

A review of The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím.

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July 2013, Volume 24, Issue 3

Kishore’s World

The widely hailed writings of Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani, including his latest book, The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, reveal a remarkably narrow and Manichean worldview.

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Tocqueville’s Frontiers

A review of Conversations with Tocqueville: The Global Democratic Revolution in the Twenty-First Century edited by Aurelian Craiutu and Sheldon Gellar and Tocqueville et les frontières de la démocratie by Nestor Capdevila.

October 2006, Volume 17, Issue 4

Exchange: Mistaking Data for “Theory”

We should neither be too hasty to discount the prodemocratic political ferment in the Arab world, nor be fooled into thinking that Islamist groups will play a constructive part in democratic transitions.

April 1998, Volume 9, Issue 2

Surveying Postmaterialism

A review of Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies, by Ronald Inglehart.

April 1997, Volume 8, Issue 2

Clarifying Consolidation

A review of Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, by Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan.

October 1996, Volume 7, Issue 4

Two Views of Liberalism

A review of Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age, by John Gray and An Intellectual History of Liberalism, by Pierre Manet.

July 1996, Volume 7, Issue 3

Crafting Constitutions

A review of Comparative Constitutional Engineering: An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes, by Giovanni Sartori.

October 1994, Volume 5, Issue 4

Economic Reform and Democracy

The Editors’ introduction to the Journal of Democracy’s special issue on “Economic Reform and Democracy.”

July 1994, Volume 5, Issue 3

Conceptions of Civil Society

A review of The Idea of Civil Society, by Adam B. Seligman and Civil Society and Political Theory, by Jean L. Cohen and Andrew Arato.

April 1994, Volume 5, Issue 2

The Key Role of the Working Class

A review of Capitalist Development and Democracy, by Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John D. Stephens.

January 1994, Volume 5, Issue 1

The Role of Elites

A review of Elites and Democratic Consolidation in Latin America and Southern Europe, edited by John Higley and Richard Gunther.

July 1992, Volume 3, Issue 3

Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy

The Editors’ introduction to the Journal of Democracy‘s special issue marking the fiftieth anniversary of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter.