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Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age [Deluxe Edition] [Paperback]

Benjamin Barber
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 2004 0520242335 978-0520242333 First Edition, Twentieth-Anniversary Edition, With a New Preface
Since its appearance twenty years ago, Benjamin R. Barber's Strong Democracy has been one of the primary standards against which political science thinking and writing is measured. Defined as the participation of all of the people in at least some aspects of self-government at least some of the time, Strong Democracy offers liberal society a new way of thinking about and of practicing democracy. Contrary to the commonly held view that an excess of democracy can undo liberal institutions, Barber argues that an excess of liberalism has undermined our democratic institutions and brought about the set of crises we still find ourselves struggling against: cynicism about voting, alienation, privatization, and the growing paralysis of public institutions. In a new preface Barber looks at the past twenty years and restates his argument, which seems, sadly, more pressing than ever.

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Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age + Democracy and Disagreement + Democracy and Difference
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Editorial Reviews


-Chicago Tribune Book Review) -- Review

Praise for the first edition:) -- Review

From the Inside Flap

"One of the chosen few: an enduring contribution to democratic thought."—Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University

Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Twentieth-Anniversary Edition, With a New Preface edition (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520242335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520242333
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong versus Thin Democracy August 9, 2002
Beginning with a frontal attack on the liberal democratic theory, which is grounded on and ramified from epistemological premises that are largely pre-historical and pre-theoretical, and stretching to the practical propositions aiming and helping to create a new sense of citizenship and community, Barber produces a masterpiece that can be perused over and over again. Well cognizant of the problems created by the heavy emphasis of liberal democratic theory on atomized individualism, through which social system is deemed not more than the competing atoms who are presupposed in permanent fight to all others, Barber packages his arguments in a highly pragmatic bag that goes far beyond the kind of demagogic platitude.
I read a number of books whose focus is on how to develop a strong democracy in both national and grass-roots levels, some of which are set on either pure theory or practice lacking ideational power. Strong democracy discerns itself from those that were written in the similar veins in that Barber knits all his arguments together cleverly based on both epistemological and practical weaknesses of what he objects, from which Barber's thesis comes, and practical ways toward and the tools for what he advocates: strong democracy.
Barber persuasively displays the importance of citizenship that is closely linked to and associated with the active engagement and participation in the affairs of community to promote the betterment of the commune of which individual citizen is a part.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Idealism April 5, 2004
By A Customer
As a student of politics I found this book intriguing. Barber's understanding of the importance of small-town/local bureaucracy is something missing from our liberal democratic understanding of politics. Barber draws from many different schools of Social Contract Theory, making a well rounded argument--until he hits national politics. His argument is interesting, and although it would never be realistically applicable in it's entirety--portions of his argument could be used to manage the socio-economic stratification issues in the United States. Barber is a good read for those interested in interpreting contemporary politics from a traditional standpoint, in new and innovative ways.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Democracy December 6, 2010
By Brown
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read for a Philosophy of Law class, but thought that this item would make great reading material for anyone who enjoys political thought, hypothetical thinking, and/or challenging the status quo. A great book that I would recommend to any college-level reader.
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too strong? Only a dreamer? December 17, 2002
As shown in the title, this book has a strong message. Actually, it is too strong.
The definition of strong democracy is extremely narrow and idealistic. According to the book, unbelievably, Pateman's position (about participatory (industry) democracy) is also thin democracy.
It seems a book for dreamers.
But, the interesting point is that the strong democracy which the author proposed may fit well with the current IT society. The final section of this book is still meaningful for us in 21th century.
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