Against the Masses
Varieties of Anti-Democratic Thought Since the French Revolution
By (author) Joseph V. Femia
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Against the Masses by Joseph V. Femia
Book DescriptionGiven the almost universal assumption that democracy is a 'good thing', the goal of mankind, it is easy to forget that 'rule by the people' has been vehemently opposed by some of the most distinguished thinkers in the Western tradition. The author attempts to combat collective amnesia by systematically exploring and evaluating anti-democratic thought since the French Revolution. Using categories first introduced by A. O. Hirschman in The Rhetoric of Reaction, Femia examines the various arguments under the headings of 'perversity', 'futility', and 'jeopardy'. This classification scheme enables him to highlight the fatalism and pessimism of anti-democratic thinkers, their conviction that democratic reform would be either pointless or destructive. Femia shows how they failed to understand the adaptability of democracy, its ability to co-exist with the traditional and elitist values. But, controversially, he also argues that some of their predictions and observations have been confirmed by history.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198280637
(243mm x 163mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 2-Aug-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Joseph V. Femia
Marxism and Democracy, Paperback (June 1993)
The collapse of the Soviet Union would seem to sound the death knell for Marxism as a blueprint for social change. Through a critical and systematic analysis of what Marx and his disciples had to say about democracy, Joseph Femia sheds light on the reasons for this failure.
Gramsci's Political Thought, Paperback (April 1987)» View all books by Joseph V. Femia
The unifying idea of Gramsci's famous "Prison Notebooks" is the concept of hegemony. In this study of these fragmentary writings, Dr Femia elucidates the precise character of this concept.
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