Democracy’s Place

Ian Shapiro

September 1996 | $34.95 | ISBN-13: 978-0-8014-8370-7 | 296 pages

Democracy’s Place includes seven essays in which Shapiro carefully integrates the theoretical and the applied. Four deal principally with democratic theory and its link to problems of social justice; the other three detail applications in the United States, the postcommunist world, and the author’s native South Africa. All advance a view of democratic politics which rests on principled, yet nuanced, suspicion of hierarchical social arrangements and of political blueprints. Shapiro’s writing is unified as well by a pervasive concern with the relations between the requirements of democracy and those of social justice. These themes, substantiated by complex yet accessible arguments, offer a constructive democratic perspective on contemporary debates about liberalism, communitarianism, and distributive justice.
“Shapiro does an excellent job of demolishing recrudescent but obsolete notions of ‘the free market,’ of the self-evidently false notion that ‘the market generates an appropriate system of rewards.’”—Philip Green, Political Theory
“Ian Shapiro presents an engaging and provocative explication of the challenges facing democracy in the coming century.”—Jeffrey Sikkenga, Journal of Politics
“The great strength of these essays is Ian Shapiro’s commitment to drawing out the implications of theories of democracy and testing them against the evidence. There is food for thought here for both political theorists and students of comparative politics.”—Brian Barry, London School of Economics
“What Ian Shapiro has to say is genuinely interesting and meets the highest standards of scholarly accomplishment.”—Jeffrey C. Isaac, Indiana University