Paradoxes of Democracy: Fragility, Continuity, and Change
Paradoxes of Democracy is an essay on the inherent weaknesses and surprising strengths of democratic government by one of the most productive and learned scholars in the social sciences.
Shmuel Eisenstadt opens with observations on divergent theories of democracy and closes with a discussion of mechanisms by which democratic regimes incorporate into their own structures the movements of protest that seem to challenge their existence. In between he courses through the roots of democratic theory in modern culture, the contradictions and tensions prompted by those roots, and some of the historical manifestations of contradiction. Eisenstadt focuses on the most important conditions—especially on different patterns of collective identity—which influence the extent to which democratic regimes are able to incorporate themes of protest and social movements and thus ensure their common survival.