Persuasion, Power and Polity: A Theory of Democratic Self-Organization (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences)

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1572732575
ISBN-10: 1572732571
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Product Details

  • Series: Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences
  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Pr (February 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572732571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572732575
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,973,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Muir on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Original. Rewarding. Accessible. diZerega's book is original because it dissects Robert Dahl's egalitarian critique of American democracy and convincingly refutes it. It's rewarding because each chapter contains nuggets of insight that stem from seeing American democracy, not as the rule of a majority, but rather as the rule of unanimous consent. diZerega explores how a system of generally fair procedural rules generates the kind of agreement essential to a democracy that depends on `friendly persuasion.' Finally, the book is accessible because diZerega writes to be understood by the general public, as well as by scholars and activists.
The book is a stunning application of the ideas of Hume, Michael Polanyi, and Hayek to democratic theory. It is first-rate and persuasive.
William K. Muir, Jr., University of California, Berkeley:
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laurent Dobuzinskis on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Written in a transparent style that never interferes with the flow of stimulating ideas, this book offers an original reinterpretation of the classical sources of democratic theory and sketches out new pathways toward genuine self-government. At the theoretical level, diZerega accomplishes three goals: first, he provides a fresh interpretation of Aristotle's political and ethical writings which enables us to appreciate its continued relevance to political life and the art of debating political issues; second, he provides new insights on the republican ideals of Jefferson and Madison out of which emerged the modern institutions of self-government; finally, he subtly meshes these classical sources with insights derived from the new sciences of complexity which have revealed the prevalence of self-organizing systems in nature and in a variety of societal practices. The portrait of democratic politics which emerges from these converging perspectives should convince both conservative and progressive liberals that freedom and the common good cannot depend as much as they believe on either the market or enlightened bureaucratic government. Both institutions must be firmly set in a deliberative democratic context that transcends their respective limitations.
Not only is diZerega's case well argued at the theoretical level, but he also provides a detailed account of the kind of non-coercive institutions that are needed to revitalize democratic practices on a human scale. However, the author is not interested in building a new utopia. Voluntary organizations and local democracy must still find their place in a broader context; coercion cannot be entirely wished away. But diZerega has shown that its effects can be effectively circumscribed and the scope of political liberty considerably widened in comparison to the present reality. Truly a formidable achievement.
Laurent Dobuzinskis, Simon Fraser University
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Muir on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Original. Rewarding. Accessible. diZerega's book is original because it dissects Robert Dahl's egalitarian critique of American democracy and convincingly refutes it. It's rewarding because each chapter contains nuggets of insight that stem from seeing American democracy, not as the rule of a majority, but rather as the rule of unanimous consent. diZerega explores how a system of generally fair procedural rules generates the kind of agreement essential to a democracy that depends on `friendly persuasion.' Finally, the book is accessible because diZerega writes to be understood by the general public, as well as by scholars and activists.
The book is a stunning application of the ideas of Hume, Michael Polanyi, and Hayek to democratic theory. It is first-rate and persuasive.
William K. Muir, jr., University of California, Berkeley
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Muir on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Original. Rewarding. Accessible. diZerega's book is original because it dissects Robert Dahl's egalitarian critique of American democracy and convincingly refutes it. It's rewarding because each chapter contains nuggets of insight that stem from seeing American democracy, not as the rule of a majority, but rather as the rule of unanimous consent. diZerega explores how a system of generally fair procedural rules generates the kind of agreement essential to a democracy that depends on `friendly persuasion.' Finally, the book is accessible because diZerega writes to be understood by the general public, as well as by scholars and activists.
The book is a stunning application of the ideas of Hume, Michael Polanyi, and Hayek to democratic theory. It is first-rate and persuasive.
William K. Muir, Jr., University of California, Berkeley:
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurent Dobuzinskis on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Written in a transparent style that never interferes with the flow of stimulating ideas, this book offers an original reinterpretation of the classical sources of democratic theory and sketches out new pathways toward genuine self-government. At the theoretical level, diZerega accomplishes three goals: first, he provides a fresh interpretation of Aristotle's political and ethical writings which enables us to appreciate its continued relevance to political life and the art of debating political issues; second, he provides new insights on the republican ideals of Jefferson and Madison out of which emerged the modern institutions of self-government; finally, he subtly meshes these classical sources with insights derived from the new sciences of complexity which have revealed the prevalence of self-organizing systems in nature and in a variety of societal practices. The portrait of democratic politics which emerges from these converging perspectives should convince both conservative and progressive liberals that freedom and the common good cannot depend as much as they believe on either the market or enlightened bureaucratic government. Both institutions must be firmly set in a deliberative democratic context that transcends their respective limitations.
Not only is diZerega's case well argued at the theoretical level, but he also provides a detailed account of the kind of non-coercive institutions that are needed to revitalize democratic practices on a human scale. However, the author is not interested in building a new utopia. Voluntary organizations and local democracy must still find their place in a broader context; coercion cannot be entirely wished away. But diZerega has shown that its effects can be effectively circumscribed and the scope of political liberty considerably widened in comparison to the present reality. Truly a formidable achievement.
Laurent Dobuzinskis, Simon Fraser University
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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