Political Dissent In Democratic Athens

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400822718
Size: 68.76 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.

Mass And Elite In Democratic Athens

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691028644
Size: 33.87 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.

Democracy And Knowledge

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400828807
Size: 59.83 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.

Athenian Legacies

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691120959
Size: 13.36 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.

The Threshold Of Democracy

Author: Mark C. Carnes
Publisher: Longman
ISBN: 9780321333032
Size: 73.44 MB
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The Threshold Of Democracy from the Author: Mark C. Carnes. Innovative and engaging, The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C. explores the intellectual dynamics of democracy by recreating the historical context that shaped its evolution. Part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, this text consists of elaborate games in which students are assigned roles, informed by classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social ferment. Issues of the time are sorted out by a polity fractured into radical and moderate democrats, oligarchs, and Socratics, among others.

The Rise And Fall Of Classical Greece

Author: Josiah Ober
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400865557
Size: 66.74 MB
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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/.

The Edinburgh Companion To The History Of Democracy

Author: Benjamin Isakhan
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN: 0748653686
Size: 57.30 MB
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The Edinburgh Companion To The History Of Democracy from the Author: Benjamin Isakhan. Takes a fresh look at the history of democracy, broadening the traditional view with previously unexplored examples. This substantial reference work critically re-examines the history of democracy, from ancient history to possible directions it may take in the future. 44 chapters explore the origins of democracy and explore new - and sometimes surprising - examples from around the world. Each of the 9 parts introduces the period, followed by 3 to 7 case studies.

Economic Equality And Direct Democracy In Ancient Athens

Author: L. Patriquin
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137503483
Size: 70.69 MB
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Economic Equality And Direct Democracy In Ancient Athens from the Author: L. Patriquin. This book argues that ancient democracy did not stop at the door of economic democracy, and that ancient Athens has much to tell us about the relationship between political equality and economic equality. Athenian democracy rested on a foundation of general economic equality, which enabled citizens to challenge their exclusion from politics.

Origins Of Democracy In Ancient Greece

Author: Kurt A. Raaflaub
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520245628
Size: 68.76 MB
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Origins Of Democracy In Ancient Greece from the Author: Kurt A. Raaflaub. "A balanced, high-quality analysis of the developing nature of Athenian political society and its relationship to 'democracy' as a timeless concept."—Mark Munn, author of The School of History

The Greek Polis And The Invention Of Democracy

Author: Johann P. Arnason
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118561678
Size: 11.76 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