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Models of Democracy Hardcover – 15 Jul 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (15 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804754713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804754712
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,503,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"In this timely and thought-provoking study, Held provides a critical reassessment of major theories of democracy from ancient Greece to the present, along with his own prescription for revitalizing contemporary democratic politics. . . . This volume should be read and pondered by anyone interested in the future of democracy." "The Annals""

From the Back Cover

The first two editions of Models of Democracy have proven immensely popular among students and specialists worldwide. In a succinct and far–reaching analysis, David Held provides an introduction to central accounts of democracy from classical Greece to the present and a critical discussion of what democracy should mean today.

This new edition has been extensively revised and updated to take account of significant transformations in world politics, and a new chapter has been added on deliberative democracy which focuses not only on how citizen participation can be increased in politics, but also on how that participation can become more informed.

Like its predecessor, the third edition of Models of Democracy combines lucid exposition and clarity of expression with careful scholarship and originality, making it highly attractive to students and experts in the field. The third edition will prove essential reading for all those interested in politics, political theory and political philosophy.

A companion website to Models of Democracy provides lecturer and student resources; including a study guide, an interview with the author and links to develop the reader′s understanding of the topics covered.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The history of the idea of democracy is curious; the history of democracies is puzzling. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By on 26 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
I am from Croatia, a republic of former Yugoslavia. I was engaged in a struggle for a democracy against communist regime in 1980s. The communist party argued that what we had as "socialism", and in particular "self-management" is the best form of democracy. In reality, we understand that it is not true.
David Held's book "Models of Democracy" was translated into Slovenian, one of south-Slavic languages, in a year of the fall of Berlin wall, Jun 1989. Few years later, it was published in Croatian also, with a special preface of D. Held personally.
The book was an excellent reference for all of us, who struggled for democracy, to understand what we are standing for. It is still important today, for we are still at the beginning of struggle for democratic institutions, procedures and culture. We had to struggle against a hard violence of human rights in the time of a nationalistic regime headed by Franjo Tudjman, 1990-1999. Today, we have problems with "politocracy", a strong power of politicians, who argued: "after elections, we have right to rule. Participation? What to hell is it?"
In addition, I can estimate that it is important for a people in countries with more democratic traditions, too. Historically, modern democracy is still a new system and we need to learn and to think about it's future development and defence.
Mir i dobro (Peace and good) from Croatia!
Zoran Ostric
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By 12345678910ABC on 9 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a great read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cyril Slater on 23 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect for my course and cheap for bank account.
A great book to get your head around the different models of democracy.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pedro on 7 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quick, it arrived next day. And in perfect conditions.I had already read the book in spanish, but it is good to have such a classic in your library.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Superb 18 April 2006
By alexliamw - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book as an entry road into democratic theory. It is far-reaching but not too superficial, the analysis and interpretation are spot on, and the critical lines persued are persuasive and important. Although the solution is not fully expanded Held makes it clear that this is not his intention as this is primarily a survey of democratic theory over the years rather than a constructive thesis.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
With so many models, the reader might become confused 7 Oct. 2012
By raphael cohen-almagor - Published on
Format: Paperback
Held maps different models of democracy, from the Athenian to the present liberal democracy. In chapters 2 and 3 he explains basic concepts, such as Republicanism, elective government, sovereignty, representation, and the general will. In chapter 3, Held also analyses the emergence of the present liberal democracy.

Chapter 4 is about direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy. One would expect this chapter to be related to the Athenian model but this is not the case. Held speaks about the Marxist/socialist and communist variants of democracy. No comparison is made between these models and the classical model.

Part II of the book consists of five chapters (5-9) relating to variants of democracy from the 20th century: elitism, pluralism, legal democracy, participatory democracy. Then there is a curious, short chapter (8) about the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe which raises many issues and leaves many questions unanswered. This chapter does not do justice to the complexity of the issues, and does not really shed ample light on the transformation, democratization, similarities and differences between the countries in Eastern Europe. It is the weakest chapter in the book.

Chapter 9 is about deliberative democracy. One would expect a comparative analysis between this model and the pluralist model. What Held offers is a succinct discussion (pp. 252-255) on value pluralism and democracy that only starts the analysis but is far from completing it.

The last part of the book consists of two chapters (10 and 11). It is titled What should democracy mean today? And it discusses democratic autonomy, democratic legitimacy and it returns to the question of sovereignty. Here Held posits the cosmopolitan model of democracy in which a global parliament connects regions, nations and localities.

This book is very interesting. It provides food for thought as well as ample criticisms. Held's dissections of democracy and the models he offers show just how complicated the concept of democracy, and the extent that it opens for interpretation. With so many models, the reader might become confused, especially when the differences and similarities between the different models are not explained carefully, or at all. Held has many thoughts but he attempted too much. With so many trees, it is difficult to see the forest. The book would be better served if Held were to offer a few models, explain them thoroughly, and compare them comprehensively.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 9 Feb. 2008
By Sarai Macedo - Published on
Format: Paperback
My professor selected this book to supplement my government class. This is an excellent book that teaches its audience about democracy. I love how Held talks about each model of democracy without siding with any model. However, you must have patience to understand the book because the language is a bit complex. My professor picked an excellent book for government class!!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Models of Democracy by Held 9 Sept. 2012
By M Nus - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent initial foray into what democracy means, the historical growth of democracy, and the fractal divisions that lead to its many different forms. Highly recommended as a starting point for studying this form of government.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Models of Democracy (David Held) 13 Jan. 2008
By Kellie Ewing - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a useful analysis of the differing interpretations of what democracy should be, from ancient civilisations to modern times. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in thinking about democracy.
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