Ike Sharpless's Reviews > Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition

Polyarchy by Robert A. Dahl
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Jul 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, political-science, democracy

Dahl argues that the term 'polyarchy' is a more accurate description than 'democracy' when it comes to most countries we tend to call democracies (he also has a very high bar for what it would be required for a country to be a democracy - and most countries in the world wouldn't qualify), and it's an important distinction.

We throw around words like democracy, the public interest, and special interests without stopping to properly understand what we mean by each of these terms. I approached this book as a fan of Dewey's work on the public interest, and as someone who's skeptical of the idea that the public interest is anything more than an accretion of diverse and often competing private interests (i.e., the pluralist conception of public policy), and it helped me to form a coherent typology of what constitutes a rich polyarchy.

It's not an easy book to read, though - I assigned an essay version to my comparative politics students, and they hard time of it...
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 23, 2011 – Shelved
August 13, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed
August 15, 2011 – Shelved as: political-science
August 19, 2011 – Shelved as: democracy

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