Reforming Democracies by Douglas A. Chalmers
Six Facts About Politics That Demand a New Agenda (Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures)

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Synopsis

Even well-established democracies need reform, and any successful effort to reform democracies must look beyond conventional institutions—elections, political parties, special interests, legislatures and their relations with chief executives—to do so. Expanding a traditional vision of the institutions of representative democracy, Douglas A. Chalmers examines six aspects of political practice relating to the people being represented, the structure of those who make law and policy, and the links between those structures and the people. Chalmers concludes with recommendations for successful reform, which requires that we pay attention to a democratic ordering of the constant reconfiguration of decision making patterns; that we recognize the crucial role of information in deliberation; and that we incorporate non-citizens and foreigners into the political system, even when they are not the principal beneficiaries.
 

About Douglas A. Chalmers

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Douglas Chalmers has written on German and Latin American politics and has coedited several books, including the New Politics of Inequality: New Forms of Popular Representation in Latin America. The former chair of political science and director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University, he now teaches in, and speaks on, Columbia's Core Curriculum.
 
Published January 15, 2013 by Columbia University Press. 192 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The author begins by identifying problems—even threats—to democracy, including inequality and corruption, then lists some conventional ways of dealing with them—new policies and revolutions of various sorts.

Nov 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Reforming Democracies: Six Fa...

Publishers Weekly

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Also key to the book’s conception of democracy are the personal networks that invariably form around leaders, often exercising even more influence over policy than formal structures like political parties and bureaucracies.

Dec 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Reforming Democracies: Six Fa...

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