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The Terms of Democracy by Michael Saward


The Terms of Democracy by Michael Saward

The Terms of Democracy shows how democracy makes radical demands upon political leaders and citizens alike. By setting out the terms of democracy in a fresh and systematic way, Michael Saward provides compelling responses to many troubling questions in democratic theory. In a tightly--argued analysis, the book offers innovative accounts of the value of democracy, the links between direct and representative institutions, the question of political community, and trade--offs between democracy and competing values. Building on a justification for democracy which embraces scepticism, Saward argues that democracy means the responsiveness of government to citizensa wishes. He shows why direct democracy and an array of constitutionally guaranteed rights are crucial to democracy. A comprehensive framework for analysing trade--offs of democracy illuminates the interplay between democratic idealism and political realism. The discussion of political community cuts through conventional pessimism to show how democrats can respond positively to sub--group demands for autonomy. The Terms of Democracy will be welcomed by all those engaged in debates about democracya s present and future.


Sawarda s The Terms of Democracy is a masterpiece of both erudition and concision. The clear analytical style and crisp critical synopses make it one of the best brief guides to democratic theory available today. Robert E. Goodin, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University An impressive statement of the case for democracy. The book provides a rare combination of rigorous philosophical argument about principles with a scrupulous assessment of institutional practices in the light of those principles. David Beetham, Professor of Politics, University of Leeds

About the Author

Michael Saward is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th June 1998


Michael Saward

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Polity Press


216 pages


Political science & theory
Political structures: democracy
Human rights



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