Democracy, Elites and Power: John Dewey Reconsidered

This essay demonstrates that the management and contestability of power is central to Dewey's understanding of democracy and provides a middle ground between two opposite poles within democratic theory: Either the masses become the genuine danger to democratic governance or elites are described as bent on controlling the masses . Yet, the answer to managing the relationship between them and the demos is never forthcoming. I argue that Dewey's response to Lippmann for how we ought to conceive of the relationship between citizens and elites if power is not to become arbitrary is located within a larger framework that avoids the problematic distinction Wolin draws between the demos and representative government. For Dewey, the legitimacy of decision-making, and, indeed, the security of freedom, is determined not merely by our actual involvement, but the extent to which non-participation does not preclude the future contestability of power
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DOI doi:10.1057/cpt.2008.25
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References found in this work BETA
Power: A Radical View.Steven Lukes & Jack H. Nagel - 1976 - Political Theory 4 (2):246-249.
Social Capital.James Farr - 2004 - Political Theory 32 (1):6-33.
Democratic Autonomy: Public Reasoning About the Ends of Policy.Henry S. Richardson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):204-210.
[Book Review] Democratic Justice. [REVIEW]Ian Shapiro - 2001 - Social Theory and Practice 27 (3):519-534.

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