Political Dissent In Democratic Athens

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400822718
Size: 31.31 MB
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Political Dissent In Democratic Athens from the Author: Josiah Ober. How and why did the Western tradition of political theorizing arise in Athens during the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C.? By interweaving intellectual history with political philosophy and literary analysis, Josiah Ober argues that the tradition originated in a high-stakes debate about democracy. Since elite Greek intellectuals tended to assume that ordinary men were incapable of ruling themselves, the longevity and resilience of Athenian popular rule presented a problem: how to explain the apparent success of a regime "irrationally" based on the inherent wisdom and practical efficacy of decisions made by non-elite citizens? The problem became acute after two oligarchic coups d' tat in the late fifth century B.C. The generosity and statesmanship that democrats showed after regaining political power contrasted starkly with the oligarchs' violence and corruption. Since it was no longer self-evident that "better men" meant "better government," critics of democracy sought new arguments to explain the relationship among politics, ethics, and morality. Ober offers fresh readings of the political works of Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle, among others, by placing them in the context of a competitive community of dissident writers. These thinkers struggled against both democratic ideology and intellectual rivals to articulate the best and most influential criticism of popular rule. The competitive Athenian environment stimulated a century of brilliant literary and conceptual innovation. Through Ober's re-creation of an ancient intellectual milieu, early Western political thought emerges not just as a "footnote to Plato," but as a dissident commentary on the first Western democracy.

Democracy And Knowledge

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400828807
Size: 23.57 MB
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Democracy And Knowledge from the Author: Josiah Ober. When does democracy work well, and why? Is democracy the best form of government? These questions are of supreme importance today as the United States seeks to promote its democratic values abroad. Democracy and Knowledge is the first book to look to ancient Athens to explain how and why directly democratic government by the people produces wealth, power, and security. Combining a history of Athens with contemporary theories of collective action and rational choice developed by economists and political scientists, Josiah Ober examines Athenian democracy's unique contribution to the ancient Greek city-state's remarkable success, and demonstrates the valuable lessons Athenian political practices hold for us today. He argues that the key to Athens's success lay in how the city-state managed and organized the aggregation and distribution of knowledge among its citizens. Ober explores the institutional contexts of democratic knowledge management, including the use of social networks for collecting information, publicity for building common knowledge, and open access for lowering transaction costs. He explains why a government's attempt to dam the flow of information makes democracy stumble. Democratic participation and deliberation consume state resources and social energy. Yet as Ober shows, the benefits of a well-designed democracy far outweigh its costs. Understanding how democracy can lead to prosperity and security is among the most pressing political challenges of modern times. Democracy and Knowledge reveals how ancient Greek politics can help us transcend the democratic dilemmas that confront the world today.

Mass And Elite In Democratic Athens

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691028644
Size: 76.81 MB
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Mass And Elite In Democratic Athens from the Author: Josiah Ober. This book asks an important question often ignored by ancient historians and political scientists alike: Why did Athenian democracy work as well and for as long as it did? Josiah Ober seeks the answer by analyzing the sociology of Athenian politics and the nature of communication between elite and nonelite citizens. After a preliminary survey of the development of the Athenian "constitution," he focuses on the role of political and legal rhetoric. As jurymen and Assemblymen, the citizen masses of Athens retained important powers, and elite Athenian politicians and litigants needed to address these large bodies of ordinary citizens in terms understandable and acceptable to the audience. This book probes the social strategies behind the rhetorical tactics employed by elite speakers. A close reading of the speeches exposes both egalitarian and elitist elements in Athenian popular ideology. Ober demonstrates that the vocabulary of public speech constituted a democratic discourse that allowed the Athenians to resolve contradictions between the ideal of political equality and the reality of social inequality. His radical reevaluation of leadership and political power in classical Athens restores key elements of the social and ideological context of the first western democracy.

The Athenian Revolution

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691001906
Size: 19.86 MB
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The Athenian Revolution from the Author: Josiah Ober. Eleven essays on Athenian democracy written and published between 1983 and 1993. They examine a variety of different themes including the development of an ideology of democracy, and how it worked in practice; the Athenian Revolution of 508/7 BC; the rules of war in Classical Greece; Thuycidides, Pericles, and the strategy of defence; power and oratory in democratic Athens; the Polis as a society.

Athenian Legacies

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691120959
Size: 51.90 MB
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Athenian Legacies from the Author: Josiah Ober. How do communities survive catastrophe? Using classical Athens as its case study, this book argues that if a democratic community is to survive over time, its people must choose to go on together. That choice often entails hardship and hard bargains. In good times, going on together presents few difficulties. But in the face of loss, disruption, and civil war, it requires tragic sacrifices and agonizing compromises. Athenian Legacies demonstrates with flair and verve how the people of one influential political community rebuilt their democratic government, rewove their social fabric, and, through thick and thin, went on together. The book's essays address amnesty, civic education, and institutional innovation in early Athens, a city that built and lost an empire while experiencing plague, war, economic trauma, and civil conflict. As Ober vividly demonstrates, Athenians became adept at collective survival. They conjoined a cultural commitment to government by the people with new institutions that captured the social and technical knowledge of a diverse population to recover from revolution, foreign occupation, and the ravages of war. Ober provides insight into notorious instances of Athenian injustice, explaining why slaves, women, and foreign residents willingly risked their lives to support a regime in which they were systematically mistreated. He answers the question of why Socrates never left a city he said was badly governed. At a time when social scientists debate the cultural grounding necessary to foster democracy, Athenian Legacies advances new arguments about the role of diversity and the relevance of shared understanding of the past in creating democracies that flourish when the going gets rough.

Threshold Of Democracy

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: W. W. Norton
ISBN: 9780393938876
Size: 40.52 MB
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Threshold Of Democracy from the Author: Josiah Ober. A Norton original in the Reacting to the Past series, The Threshold of Democracy re-creates the intellectual dynamics of one of the most formative periods in western history.

The Rise And Fall Of Classical Greece

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400865557
Size: 35.27 MB
Format: PDF
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The Rise And Fall Of Classical Greece from the Author: Josiah Ober. Lord Byron described Greece as great, fallen, and immortal, a characterization more apt than he knew. Through most of its long history, Greece was poor. But in the classical era, Greece was densely populated and highly urbanized. Many surprisingly healthy Greeks lived in remarkably big houses and worked for high wages at specialized occupations. Middle-class spending drove sustained economic growth and classical wealth produced a stunning cultural efflorescence lasting hundreds of years. Why did Greece reach such heights in the classical period—and why only then? And how, after "the Greek miracle" had endured for centuries, did the Macedonians defeat the Greeks, seemingly bringing an end to their glory? Drawing on a massive body of newly available data and employing novel approaches to evidence, Josiah Ober offers a major new history of classical Greece and an unprecedented account of its rise and fall. Ober argues that Greece's rise was no miracle but rather the result of political breakthroughs and economic development. The extraordinary emergence of citizen-centered city-states transformed Greece into a society that defeated the mighty Persian Empire. Yet Philip and Alexander of Macedon were able to beat the Greeks in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, a victory made possible by the Macedonians' appropriation of Greek innovations. After Alexander's death, battle-hardened warlords fought ruthlessly over the remnants of his empire. But Greek cities remained populous and wealthy, their economy and culture surviving to be passed on to the Romans—and to us. A compelling narrative filled with uncanny modern parallels, this is a book for anyone interested in how great civilizations are born and die. This book is based on evidence available on a new interactive website. To learn more, please visit: http://polis.stanford.edu/.

Mill On Democracy

Author: Nadia Urbinati
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226842776
Size: 18.24 MB
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Mill On Democracy from the Author: Nadia Urbinati. Despite John Stuart Mill's widely respected contributions to philosophy and political economy, his work on political philosophy has received a much more mixed response. Some critics have even charged that Mill's liberalism was part of a political project to restrain, rather than foster, democracy. Redirecting attention to Mill as a political thinker, Nadia Urbinati argues that this claim misrepresents Mill's thinking. Although he did not elaborate a theory of democracy, Mill did devise new avenues of democratic participation in government that could absorb the transformation of politics engendered by the institution of representation. More generally, Urbinati assesses Mill's contribution to modern democratic theory by critiquing the dominant "two liberties" narrative that has shaped Mill scholarship over the last several decades. As Urbinati shows, neither Isaiah Berlin's theory of negative and positive freedom nor Quentin Skinner's theory of liberty as freedom from domination adequately captures Mill's notion of political theory. Drawing on Mill's often overlooked writings on ancient Greece, Urbinati shows that Mill saw the ideal representative government as a "polis of the moderns," a metamorphosis of the unique features of the Athenian polis: the deliberative character of its institutions and politics; the Socratic ethos; and the cooperative implications of political agonism and dissent. The ancient Greeks, Urbinati shows, and Athenians in particular, are the key to understanding Mill's contribution to modern democratic theory and the theory of political liberty. Urbinati concludes by demonstrating the importance of Mill's deliberative model of politics to the contemporary debate on liberal and republican views of liberty. Her fresh and persuasive approach not only clarifies Mill's political ideas but also illustrates how they can help enrich our contemporary understanding of democracy.

What S Wrong With Democracy

Author: Loren J. Samons
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520236608
Size: 51.73 MB
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What S Wrong With Democracy from the Author: Loren J. Samons. In this daring reassessment of classical Athenian democracy & its significance for the United States today, Samons firstly shows why the Athenian model was distrusted by America's founding father, before considering how the concept of democracy has now become an object of popular veneration.

The Greek Polis And The Invention Of Democracy

Author: Johann P. Arnason
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118561678
Size: 51.74 MB
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The Greek Polis And The Invention Of Democracy from the Author: Johann P. Arnason. The Greek Polis and the Invention of Democracy presents a series of essays that trace the Greeks’ path to democracy and examine the connection between the Greek polis as a citizen state and democracy as well as the interaction between democracy and various forms of cultural expression from a comparative historical perspective and with special attention to the place of Greek democracy in political thought and debates about democracy throughout the centuries. Presents an original combination of a close synchronic and long diachronic examination of the Greek polis - city-states that gave rise to the first democratic system of government Offers a detailed study of the close interactionbetween democracy, society, and the arts in ancient Greece Places the invention of democracy in fifth-century bce Athens both in its broad social and cultural context and in the context of the re-emergence of democracy in the modern world Reveals the role Greek democracy played in the political and intellectual traditions that shaped modern democracy, and in the debates about democracy in modern social, political, and philosophical thought Written collaboratively by an international team of leading scholars in classics, ancient history, sociology, and political science