Participation and democracy from the Greeks to our times

Matt Qvortrup

in The Politics of Participation

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780719076589
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701560 | DOI:
Participation and democracy from the Greeks to our times

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This chapter turns to historical debates about citizen politics. Throughout the history of civilised society, citizen politics has been the exception rather than the norm. Most societies through the ages have been based not on citizen engagement but on more or less despotic rule. Why, then, should citizens be involved in politics and, indeed, take a direct part in the process of governing? Beginning with the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, the chapter presents a general account of the defence of citizen politics provided by Machiavelli and Marsilius of Padua, Rousseau and Mill, but also an introduction to the elitist critics of democracy, e.g. José Ortega y Gasset and the federalists.

Keywords: citizen politics; despotic rule; Machiavelli; Greek philosophers; democracy

Chapter.  10672 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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