Political Realism and Popular Power
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- Author: J. S. Maloy, Oklahoma State University
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The theory of statecraft explores practical politics through the strategies and maneuvers of privileged agents, whereas the theory of democracy dwells among abstract and lofty ideals. Can these two ways of thinking somehow be reconciled and combined? Or is statecraft destined to remain the preserve of powerful elites, leaving democracy to ineffectual idealists? J. S. Maloy demonstrates that the Western tradition of statecraft, usually considered the tool of tyrants and oligarchs, has in fact been integral to the development of democratic thought. Five case studies of political debate, ranging from ancient Greece to the late nineteenth-century United States, illustrate how democratic ideas can be relevant to the real world of politics instead of reinforcing the idealistic delusions of conventional wisdom and academic theory alike. The tradition highlighted by these cases still offers resources for reconstructing our idea of popular government in a realistic spirit – skeptical, pragmatic, and relentlessly focused on power.Read more
- Offers a fresh blueprint for teaming up democratic norms and practical statecraft
- Outlines a genealogy of political realism in the Western tradition
- Provides readers with an argument for non-electoral forms of democratic accountability and an anti-idealistic approach to democratic theory
- A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013
Reviews & endorsements
“As democracy has risen to prominence, it has acquired an aura of idealism that has strengthened it, but also stripped it of some of its most powerful traits. In Democratic Statecraft, Jason Maloy poses a bold challenge to the uncritical idealism that characterizes much of contemporary democratic theory. The democratic reason of state that emerges in the process will remind those who have forgotten where democracy has been, and compel those concerned about its future to think hard about where it might go.”
Yannis Evrigenis, Tufts UniversitySee more reviews
“Democratic Statecraft is a unique, timely, and well-argued book. Maloy turns to an intellectual tradition, the realpolitik tradition of ‘statecraft,’ which is usually associated with un- or antidemocratic principles and practice, as a resource in efforts to think beyond the overly idealistic horizons of contemporary democratic theory. Maloy successfully teases out the democratic implications of realism, skepticism, and pragmatism, and, as a result, articulates a civic realism that addresses both power and justice in ways that are appropriate for healthy democratic practice today. The book definitively sheds original light on theorists we think that we already know well and speaks directly to the heart of debates in contemporary democratic theory. There is really nothing out there like Democratic Statecraft in the literatures of political theory and intellectual history.”
John P. McCormick, University of Chicago
"Maloy makes a major contribution to democratic theory in Democratic Statecraft. In this meticulously researched and well-argued work, he traces arguments about statecraft and reason of state from Plato through Reconstruction … Controversial and provocative, this book is sure to become required reading in graduate seminars and comprehensive exams and will surely lead to debates in the field. Summing up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."
M. B. Manjikian, Choice
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- Date Published: February 2013
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781139602693
- contains: 4 b/w illus.
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: realism and democracy
2. Reason of state and two dimensions of realism
3. From the Sophists to Aristotle: institutions lie
4. From Aristotle to Machiavelli: democracy bites
5. From Machiavelli to the Puritans: fire fights fire
6. From the Puritans to the Populists: money never sleeps
7. Conclusion: power and paradoxes.
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