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Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone

Category: Book
By (author): Taylor, Astra
Subject:  NON-FICTION / General
  PHILOSOPHY / Political
  POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: January 2019
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 208
Size: 8.25in x 5.37in
Our Price:
$ 35.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

What is democracy really? What do we mean when we use the term? And can it ever truly exist? Astra Taylor, hailed as a "New Civil Rights Leader" (LA Times), provides surprising answers.

There is no shortage of democracy, at least in name, and yet it is in crisis everywhere we look. From a cabal of thieving plutocrats in the White House to rising inequality and xenophobia worldwide, it is clear that democracy-specifically the principle of government by and for the people-is not living up to its promise.

In Democracy Might Not Exist Astra Taylor shows that real democracy-fully inclusive and completely egalitarian-has in fact never existed. In a tone that is both philosophical and anecdotal, weaving together history, theory, the stories of individuals, and conversations with such leading thinkers as Cornel West, Danielle Allen, and Wendy Brown, Taylor invites us to reexamine the term. Is democracy a means or an end, a process or a set of desired outcomes? What if the those outcomes, whatever they may be-peace, prosperity, equality, liberty, an engaged citizenry-can be achieved by non-democratic means? Or if an election leads to a terrible outcome? If democracy means rule by the people, what does it mean to rule and who counts as the people?

The inherent paradoxes are too often unnamed and unrecognized. By teasing them out, Democracy Might not Exist offers a better understanding of what is possible, what we want, and why democracy is so hard to realize.

Review Quote*Praise for The People's Platform : "Astra Taylor is the Marshall McLuhan or the Neil Postman of our new digital economy, the lonely voice raising urgent questions we need to answer together."-NY1 News' The Book Reader "Taylor makes a thorough case that the technological advances we've been told constitute progress are actually masking and, in some cases, exacerbating social ills that have long plagued our society…Compelling and well argued." -Los Angeles Times "Taylor's smart and nuanced overview of the new media landscape is the best I've read and an excellent summary of the mess we're in." -The Boston Globe "Do you use the Internet? Then you have to read The People's Platform, one of the most important books of the year." -Flavorwire
Biographical NoteAstra Taylor is the author of The People's Platform (winner of the American Book Award) and made two documentary films, Zizek! and Examined Life. Taylor's writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, n+1, and The Baffler, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in New York City.