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Democracy incorporated : managed democracy and the specter of inverted totalitarianism /
Sheldon S. Wolin.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2010, c2008.
description
xxiv, 356 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780691145891
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2010, c2008.
isbn
9780691145891
contents note
Myth in the making -- Totalitarianism's inversion : beginnings of the imaginary of a permanent global war -- Totalitarianism's inversion, democracy's perversion -- The new world of terror -- The utopian theory of superpower : the official version -- The dynamics of transformation -- The dynamics of the archaic -- The politics of superpower : managed democracy -- Intellectual elites against democracy -- Domestic politics in the era of superpower and empire -- Inverted totalitarianism : antecedents and precedents -- Demotic moments -- Democracy's prospects : looking backwards.
general note
'With a new preface by the author".
catalogue key
7264260
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sheldon S. Wolin is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University. His books include Politics and Vision and Tocqueville between Two Worlds (both Princeton).
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-11-01:
Wolin (emeritus, Princeton Univ.) argues that democratic practice and theory in the US are failing. Wolin's evidence includes the expansion of corporate power and the accelerating merger of corporate and state power; executive violation of constitutional norms; growing executive dominance; empire and its corrosion of democracy; manipulation of elections and the public; lying; managed democracy; concentration of media ownership; appeal to religious, economic, and political fundamentalism in place of common interest; and marketization of values and beliefs. This creates "inverted totalitarianism" that exploits the public and justifies accelerating inequality, but is compatible with some outward forms of democracy. Such violation of democracy is not planned or desired but results from "actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences." Despite deep roots, this process has accelerated under the current Bush administration, though Wolin has scant hope that Democrats, as opposed to democrats, can significantly improve the situation. Chapter 9 is a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct. Hopefully his next book will expand his suggestions for "redemocratization." Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. C. P. Waligorski emeritus, University of Arkansas
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States--including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors.
"[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States--including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors."-- Chalmers Johnson, Truthdig
[A] comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. . . . Democracy Incorporated is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States--including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors. -- Chalmers Johnson, Truthdig
Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty.
" Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty."-- Shih-Yu Chou, Political Studies Review
Democracy Incorporated acts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty. -- Shih-Yu Chou, Political Studies Review
Democracy Incorporatedacts as an antidote to unconstrained corporate power and an elitist obsession and should be widely read by all those who cherish democracy and civil liberty. -- Shih-Yu Chou, Political Studies Review
[ Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
[Democracy Incorporatedprovides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct.
"[ Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites interests, Wolins analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct."-- C. P. Waligorski, Choice
[ Democracy Incorporated provides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct. -- C. P. Waligorski, Choice
[Democracy Incorporatedprovides] a rare, chilling analysis of intellectual critics of democracy. If democracy means more than occasional elections and protection of those rights that are compatible with economic and political elites' interests, Wolin's analysis of our democratic predicament is shocking, solid, and fundamentally correct. -- C. P. Waligorski, Choice
Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent.
"Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent."-- Tom Angier, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
Despite being written shortly before both the financial crisis and the Obama victory, the main lineaments of his analysis are still alarmingly cogent. -- Tom Angier, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated . Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process.
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin'sDemocracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process.
"Of the many books Ive read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolins Democracy Incorporated . Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process."-- Jonathan Crary, Artforum
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated . Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process. -- Jonathan Crary, Artforum
Of the many books I've read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin'sDemocracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process. -- Jonathan Crary, Artforum
Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume.
"Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume."-- Alex Waddan, International Affairs
Sheldon Wolin has produced an ambitious and broad-ranging book that examines the current state of democracy in America. . . . Wolin argues that the unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism has dramatically narrowed the range of policy options that are on the table when debate turns to resolving the US's ills. . . .[T]his is a trenchant and powerful volume. -- Alex Waddan, International Affairs
[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning.
"[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning."-- Toby Grace, Out in Jersey
[W]e need to understand the deep roots of our present troubles ourselves and Wolin's book is an excellent beginning. -- Toby Grace, Out in Jersey
Winner of the 2008 Lannan Notable Book Award, Lannan Foundation
[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency.
"[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency."-- Coleman Fannin, Journal of Church and State
[Wolin] provides a rich narrative of the struggle of elites and the demos from ancient Greece through the writing of the U.S. Constitution and into the present, and the corporate-managed politics that has emerged will survive no matter which party holds Congress or the presidency. -- Coleman Fannin, Journal of Church and State
As we've come to expect from Sheldon Wolin, a tightly argued and deeply revealing book about the dangers of unconstrained capitalism for our democracy.
For half a century, Sheldon Wolin has been one of the most distinguished and influential political theorists in the United States and a perceptive observer of the American political scene. In his magisterial latest book, Wolin shows himself at the height of his powers as he presents a highly original, sober, and persuasive account of a number of tendencies in contemporary American society that constitute a significant danger for the future of constitutional democracy. If totalitarianism establishes itself in the United States, it will be in the 'inverted' form Wolin analyzes in this important book.
Powerful and persuasive.Democracy Incorporateddoes exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real.
With his fundamental grasp of political theory and restless spirit to get at the essence of what threatens modern democracy, Wolin demonstrates that the threats to our democratic traditions and institutions are not always from outside, but may come from within. It is a book that policymakers and scholars of contemporary society should read and reflect upon.
Wolin's writing has a resonance that binds the canon of political philosophy to unfolding events and present circumstances. InDemocracy Incorporated, he contends that the institutions and practices that Americans regarded as their defense against totalitarianism--and other forms of authoritarian domination--have failed them. There is nothing like this book. It is a major, potentially revolutionary contribution to political thought.
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"With his fundamental grasp of political theory and restless spirit to get at the essence of what threatens modern democracy, Wolin demonstrates that the threats to our democratic traditions and institutions are not always from outside, but may come from within. It is a book that policymakers and scholars of contemporary society should read and reflect upon."-- Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School, author of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands "As weve come to expect from Sheldon Wolin, a tightly argued and deeply revealing book about the dangers of unconstrained capitalism for our democracy."-- Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley "For half a century, Sheldon Wolin has been one of the most distinguished and influential political theorists in the United States and a perceptive observer of the American political scene. In his magisterial latest book, Wolin shows himself at the height of his powers as he presents a highly original, sober, and persuasive account of a number of tendencies in contemporary American society that constitute a significant danger for the future of constitutional democracy. If totalitarianism establishes itself in the United States, it will be in the inverted form Wolin analyzes in this important book."-- Raymond Geuss, University of Cambridge "Wolins writing has a resonance that binds the canon of political philosophy to unfolding events and present circumstances. In Democracy Incorporated , he contends that the institutions and practices that Americans regarded as their defense against totalitarianism--and other forms of authoritarian domination--have failed them. There is nothing like this book. It is a major, potentially revolutionary contribution to political thought."-- Anne Norton, author of Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire "Powerful and persuasive. Democracy Incorporated does exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real."-- Marc Stears, author of Progressives, Pluralists, and the Problems of the State
Back Cover Copy
"With his fundamental grasp of political theory and restless spirit to get at the essence of what threatens modern democracy, Wolin demonstrates that the threats to our democratic traditions and institutions are not always from outside, but may come from within. It is a book that policymakers and scholars of contemporary society should read and reflect upon."--Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School, author of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands "As we've come to expect from Sheldon Wolin, a tightly argued and deeply revealing book about the dangers of unconstrained capitalism for our democracy."--Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley "For half a century, Sheldon Wolin has been one of the most distinguished and influential political theorists in the United States and a perceptive observer of the American political scene. In his magisterial latest book, Wolin shows himself at the height of his powers as he presents a highly original, sober, and persuasive account of a number of tendencies in contemporary American society that constitute a significant danger for the future of constitutional democracy. If totalitarianism establishes itself in the United States, it will be in the 'inverted' form Wolin analyzes in this important book."--Raymond Geuss, University of Cambridge "Wolin's writing has a resonance that binds the canon of political philosophy to unfolding events and present circumstances. In Democracy Incorporated , he contends that the institutions and practices that Americans regarded as their defense against totalitarianism--and other forms of authoritarian domination--have failed them. There is nothing like this book. It is a major, potentially revolutionary contribution to political thought."--Anne Norton, author of Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire "Powerful and persuasive. Democracy Incorporated does exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real."--Marc Stears, author of Progressives, Pluralists, and the Problems of the State
Back Cover Copy
"With his fundamental grasp of political theory and restless spirit to get at the essence of what threatens modern democracy, Wolin demonstrates that the threats to our democratic traditions and institutions are not always from outside, but may come from within. It is a book that policymakers and scholars of contemporary society should read and reflect upon."--Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School, author ofFrom Higher Aims to Hired Hands"As we've come to expect from Sheldon Wolin, a tightly argued and deeply revealing book about the dangers of unconstrained capitalism for our democracy."--Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley"For half a century, Sheldon Wolin has been one of the most distinguished and influential political theorists in the United States and a perceptive observer of the American political scene. In his magisterial latest book, Wolin shows himself at the height of his powers as he presents a highly original, sober, and persuasive account of a number of tendencies in contemporary American society that constitute a significant danger for the future of constitutional democracy. If totalitarianism establishes itself in the United States, it will be in the 'inverted' form Wolin analyzes in this important book."--Raymond Geuss, University of Cambridge"Wolin's writing has a resonance that binds the canon of political philosophy to unfolding events and present circumstances. InDemocracy Incorporated, he contends that the institutions and practices that Americans regarded as their defense against totalitarianism--and other forms of authoritarian domination--have failed them. There is nothing like this book. It is a major, potentially revolutionary contribution to political thought."--Anne Norton, author ofLeo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire"Powerful and persuasive.Democracy Incorporateddoes exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real."--Marc Stears, author ofProgressives, Pluralists, and the Problems of the State
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Democracy Incorporated' considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms 'inverted totalitarianism'?
Main Description
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost clich . But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated , Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come. In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
Main Description
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated , Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come. In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
Main Description
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? InDemocracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"? Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level. Democracy Incorporatedis one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come. In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
Main Description
Democracy is struggling in America-by now this statement is almost clich. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin suggests that America has unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled-an "inverted totalitarianism."
Main Description
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost clicheacute;. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? InDemocracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"?Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level.Democracy Incorporatedis one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come.In a new preface, Wolin describes how the Obama administration, despite promises of change, has left the underlying dynamics of managed democracy intact.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Paperback Editionp. ix
Prefacep. xvii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxv
Previewp. 1
Myth in the Makingp. 4
Totalitarianism's Inversion: Beginnings of the Imaginary of a Permanent Global Warp. 15
Totalitarianism's Inversion, Democracy's Perversionp. 41
The New World of Terrorp. 69
The Utopian Theory of Superpower: The Official Versionp. 82
The Dynamics of Transformationp. 95
The Dynamics of the Archaicp. 114
The Politics of Superpower: Managed Democracyp. 131
Intellectual Elites against Democracyp. 159
Domestic Politics in the Era of Superpower and Empirep. 184
Inverted Totalitarianism: Antecedents and Precedentsp. 211
Demotic Momentsp. 238
Democracy's Prospects: Looking Backwardsp. 259
Notesp. 293
Indexp. 339
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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