In this course we ask which modes of thinking about democracy are most appropriate and effective for answering the following questions: Is true democracy an ancient ideal that is only realisable in small communities? Is it a modern ideal well-suited to mass societies characterised by diverse and educated citizenry, pluralism, and advanced technology? Is the pragmatic polity a stable practice and a satisfactory ideal for the whole world? Is it an unstable compound of capitalism, liberalism, and democracy that is mired in contradiction and likely to fail? Is democracy just an instrument for securing other valued goods, such as liberty, non-violence, prosperity, and certain kinds of legal equality? Does it possess sufficient intrinsic merit to be valued as an end in itself?
Unit 1: The Concept of Democracy: Universally Valued, Essentially Contested