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Title: The Universal Value of Democracy
Contributor(s): Lynch, Anthony James  (author); Wells, David Alan (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: Graham Maddox's most important contribution to democratic theory lies with his recognition of a particular 'ethical conscience' - one that exhibits a 'bias in favour of the poor' - as an essential and constitutive element of any genuinely democratic polity.The requirement that democracy exhibit a 'bias in favour of the poor' is vital if we are to be able to make a number of key distinctions when considering the democratic character of our own, and other, societies. It is not simply that such allows us to perceive the possibility that democratic 'forms' are not enough, in themselves, to ensure democratic 'substance'; or, the historical point, that without connecting democracy and the interests of the poor we are ill-placed to understand the ancients' specification of democracy as 'the rule of the poor'; it is the more pressing point that without such an understanding of democracy we are unable to criticise many current developments in apparently democratic societies. In particular, it renders largely invisible an emerging political logic that - while using democratic language and forms - threatens to give us an oligarchic style of politics of the kind the ancients directly contrasted to democracy. It is in his reminder that the idea of 'democracy' has an 'essential moral history' that Maddox has so much to offer us, and not only on the issues just raised. For Maddox's history is essential in an even deeper respect.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: A Passion for Politics: Essays in Honour of Graham Maddox, p. 181-189
Publisher: Pearson Education Australia
Place of Publication: Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.
ISBN: 1740911040
Field of Research (FOR): 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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