The Theory Of Democracy Revisited – Book Report/Review Example

The paper "The Theory Of Democracy Revisited" is a worthy example of a philosophy book review.
The book The Theory of Democracy Revisited has two parts, the first of which is The Contemporary Debate. In this part, Sartori analyses the theories that have been used to explain democracy in recent times. The author also examines the issues that the theories present, offering a new perspective on a theoretical explanation of democracy. Some of the theories explored in this book include realism, rationalism, perfectionism, oligarchy, polyarchy, and absolutism. Other theories discussed are dictatorship, autocracy and anti-elitism. Sartori focuses his attention on trying to create a ‘mainstream political democracy’ from the theories that have been proposed before to explain the issue of democracy. This book also reviews matters on consensus, and how opinions are formed, the principle of the majority and minority rule, the tyranny of the majority, and elite and minority.
Some of the theories featured are descriptive in nature while others are prescriptive. The descriptive theories have the benefit of being realistic whereas the prescriptive theories are the ideal. Since the ideal, however, is untenable, the readers can only draw insight from them, and incorporate the ideas they bear to the current situation. A theory blends the real and the ideal in order to be valid, and democratically possible. It also discusses what democracy is not, and a decision-making theory of democracy. In this aspect, Sartori discusses the nature of a political decision, the decisional costs and external risks associated, the role played by committees and consociational democracy. Sartori explains that democracy has gone through a 2, 000- year period of evolution through trial and error which has allowed it to learn and incorporate power, equality, and liberty. These are concepts attributable to historical learning.
This work is credited for the conceptual clarity and adherence to proper methodology in its analysis of theories. The book also offers guidance on the development of theories that are relevant to the changing democratic needs of the society. It analyzes politics and political concepts such as equality, liberty and ideology. The book also goes further to offer political alternatives to democracy which are authoritarianism, autocracy and totalitarianism. Contemporary issues are also exceptionally identified and clarified as they influence democracy. These issues include democratization and the construction of democracy. In addition to these two, participatory democracy, electoral democracy, and referendum democracy are identified and examined as contemporary issues. From the book, it becomes evident that Sartori is a cognitive realist who proposes that democracy be a selective polyarchy of merit.