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Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance [Paperback]

David Held

Price: 22.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Nov 1995
This book provides a highly original account of the changing meaning of democracy in the contemporary world, offering both an historical and philosophical analysis of the nature and prospects of democracy today.

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Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance + Democracy Across Borders: From Demos to Demoi (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)
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Review

"David Held has produced a magisterial account of democratic theory as it applies to a world of intensifying global relations ... I regard this book as indispensable reading for scholars and citizens alike – a comprehensive rethinking and remapping of the terrain of democracy." Richard Falk, Princeton University "A comprehensive account ... Democracy and the Global Order is both an impressive combination of philosophical analysis, sociological inquiry, and practical observation, and an excellent synthesis of traditional political theory and International Relations. It′s accessibility is one of its resounding strengths. Many parts of the book can be recommended for use in a variety of survey undergraduate courses and specialist courses in international law, international organisations, European studies and global governance. No other work introduces the main strands of democratic theory, analyses the rise of the modern state and the contemporary pressures on state autonomy, considers developments in international or "cosmopolitan" law and explores models of cosmopolitan democracy so lucidly and systematically. It is an important contribibution to modern democratic theory and to the larger project of bridging the peculiar gulf between political theory and IR." Millennium "Held has provided an immensely powerful manifesto for our times in a judicious and meticulously constructed framework." Sociological Review "He draws upon previous contributions to provide in this book a comprehensive and powerful synthesis of his thought. Such an ambitious and wide–ranging enterprise is bound to provide the material of discussion for many years to come." Sociology "Democracy and the Global Order is a significant scholarly achievement and, more importantly, a considerable political resource. We could do worse than to approach such a debate with the same mixture of philosophical rigour, institutional imagination and political nerve that David Held has displayed." New Left Review "Held has produced a very important discussion of the meaning and practice of democracy at the end of the century." Ethics

From the Back Cover

Democracy is the most potent political idea in the world today, yet the future of democracy is increasingly uncertain. Key assumptions of democratic thinking and practice are being undermined by diverse sites of social and economic power on the one hand, and by dense networks of regional and global interconnectedness on the other. Distant localities are now interlinked as never before as states and societies are more tightly enmeshed in webs of international conditions and processes. Democracy and the Global Order offers a highly original and systematic account of these issues. After critically assessing traditional conceptions of democracy in the first part of the volume, part II examines the historical development of the modern state in the context of the inter–state system and the world economy; it traces the rise and displacement of the modern nation–state. Part III explores the theoretical bases of democracy and of the democratic state, and the profound changes these concepts must undergo if they are to retain their relevance in the century ahead. Part IV champions a "cosmopolitan" model of democracy – a new conception of democracy for a new world order. The author argues that, from economic development to the fight against disease, new democratic mechanisms and procedures are urgently needed. The case is made for, among other things, the reform of the UN, the extension of the idea of regional parliaments, cross–national referenda as well as the enrichment of democracy at the level of cities, workplaces and neighbourhoods.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Within the history of democratic theory lies a deeply rooted conflict about whether democracy should mean some kind of popular power (a form of politics in which citizens are engaged in self-government and self-regulation) or an aid to decision-making (a means of conferring authority on those periodically voted into office). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unbalanced book 7 Dec 2011
By T. Carlsson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this book because the author is slow in getting to the main topic. The total length of the book is 287 pages and the discussion on global democracy doesn't begin until page 219.

After an introductory part I the author gets to part II, which actually constitutes half of the entire book. It's a presentation of the history of the modern state and modern political systems. Not bad as a broad outline, but it's also obvious that the author is no historian. He merely skims the surface of state history with a detached theoretical perspective. Frankly, I don't see any reason why half the book should be used on a historical presentation which isn't of any relevance for the theoretical arguments at the end.

In Part III we finally get to democratic theory. But once again the author exhibits poor judgment. He spends a lot of pages on the principle of autonomy and on democratic thought experiments. These are quite abstract questions in democratic theory, and the author fails to explain their relevance for cosmopolitan governance. Spending another 70 pages on them seemed a bit pointless.

The author performs better in part IV when he at last gets to cosmopolitan democracy. This part was worth reading, but I was still mystified by the author's emphasis on "autonomy". His basic argument is quite simple: personal autonomy should be enforced on a global scale by international democratic law. If we can implement global democracy, we can effectively protect human rights, freedom and justice. This isn't exactly a deep insight. Constructing an abstract "principle of autonomy" and saying that it would be good if everyone could respect it, isn't an interesting argument. The author does offer some ideas for institutional change in international politics as well, but they don't amount to much more than pure fantasy. Perhaps he could have argued his case more convincingly if he had extended his central argument to 200 pages instead of 60.

In conclusion, I think this book is poorly structured: the preliminary parts are too long and the argument is much too short. But if you're looking for good books in democratic theory, you might want to consult this book just for its bibliography, which is quite comprehensive (up to 1995).
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