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Democracy and Goodness

Democracy and Goodness

ISBN 9781108422574
Edition 1
Publication Date
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Author(s)
Overview
Citizens, political leaders, and scholars invoke the term 'democracy' to describe present-day states without grasping its roots or prospects in theory or practice. This book clarifies the political discourse about democracy by identifying that its primary focus is human activity, not consent. It points out how democracy is neither self-legitimating nor self-justifying and so requires critical, ethical discourse to address its ongoing problems, such as inequality and exclusion. Wallach pinpoints how democracy has historically depended on notions of goodness to ratify its power. The book analyses pivotal concepts of democratic ethics such as 'virtue', 'representation', 'civil rightness', 'legitimacy', and 'human rights' and looks at them as practical versions of goodness that have adapted democracy to new constellations of power in history. Wallach notes how democratic ethics should never be reduced to power or moral ideals. Historical understanding needs to come first to highlight the potentials and prospects of democratic citizenship.

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