20+ verk 148 medlemmar 2 recensioner

Om författaren

Nadia Urbinati is Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University.

Verk av Nadia Urbinati

The tyranny of the moderns (2015) 12 exemplar
La democrazia del sorteggio (2020) 6 exemplar

Associerade verk

Thucydides and the Modern World (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 5 exemplar


Allmänna fakta




I had mixed opinions about this book. It's an ambitious work of academic scholarship and a challenging book to read. But the arguments lack clarity, and it's mostly because the author doesn't link them together sufficiently. I was not sure after finishing the book what exactly her main point was.

The author strives to portray representative democracy from a new perspective by utilizing a "genealogical" approach; she analyzes and reinterprets classic works from the age of the French and American revolutions. She argues that representative democracy was traditionally understood from three perspectives; juridical, institutional and political - associated with Rousseau, Sieyes and Condorcet, respectively. She wants to vindicate the third perspective, joining her own theorizing to Condorcet's to challenge prevailing models of representative democracy.

At least that's my impression of the author's aims. It's hard to be certain because the general structure of the argument is difficult to grasp. She crafts lengthy piecemeal arguments with polished phrasings, but fails to keep the reader informed about where the general argument is heading. Her own theorizing mixes with the classics and it is not clear where the genealogical account ends and her principles of representation begin. Perhaps she saw no need to distinguish between the two, but I did. She also breaks up her arguments with far too many external references which fragment the chain of thought.

A few more complaints: the author often seems to express herself in deliberately convoluted language. For example, on page 148: "But as Arendt has pointed out, freedom in politics is related to action and the conditions of action; hence its nature is structurally bounded and situated, never absolute and ex lege, not even in the constituting event, which is never ex nihilo, but in fact the theater of a complex constellation of activities that compromise among other things recollection (reflection on the past), interpretation of other experiences (including mimesis), and compromise." It's frustrating to skip past such nonsense and I really think the editor should have done a better job of weeding it out. The author also has no inclination to pause and offer conclusions which might allow her readers to catch up. Even the final chapter, which has the strange title "Conclusion: a surplus of politics", is distressingly opaque.

I think the author is much better at reinterpreting classical ideas than at formulating her own. Her presentations of Rousseau's and especially Condorcet's thoughts are clearly the best parts of this book. I will be returning to these selected parts in the future. Her theoretical analyses of representative democracy, on the other hand, require hard work but don't reward it. Something valuable might be lurking there, but it's unfortunate that the author could not express it with greater clarity.
… (mer)
thcson | Oct 31, 2014 |
An interesting approach to Mill's work.
Fledgist | Jul 16, 2007 |


Du skulle kanske också gilla

Associerade författare


Även av
½ 2.3

Tabeller & diagram