Political Science | Political Philosophy
Y675 | 17260 | Scheuerman


Political Philosophy:
Topic:  Can the People Rule?  Democracy and Its Critics   (3 cr)
12:00  2:00 W
WH 200

Beginning with Alexis deTocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, the
course offers a survey of the most important voices and ideas within
modern democratic theory. It does so by pursuing two paths. First,
we focus on a series of influential debates, which typically pitted
more skeptical analysts of democratic politics against those who
endorsed relatively ambitious views of its prospects (e.g., John
Dewey vs. Walter Lippmann; Carole Pateman vs. Joseph Schumpeter and
Robert Dahl). Second, we zoom in on a number of important thematic
questions: What are democracy's necessary economic presuppositions,
if any? Does the category of gender pose challenges to mainstream
democratic theory? How does globalization potentially force us to
rethink democratic politics? In the process, students will not only
gain a solid grounding in the most important renditions of modern
democratic theory (i.e., democracy as elite competition,
participatory democracy, deliberative democracy, and agonistic
democracy), but also exposure to a series of major debates that
remain vitally important to democracy's prospects. Authors to be
read include: Seyla Benhabib, Robert Dahl, John Dewey, Friedrich
Hayek, David Held, Juergen Habermas, Walter Lippmann, Chantal
Mouffe, Carole Pateman, Charles Tilly, Alexis deTocqueville, and
Iris Young. Although primarily a course in political theory, the
topic should be of interest to empirical political scientists and
many others as well.