This volume reflects Beteille's engagement with the conception of formal, legal, political institutions (Parliament, Judiciary, and political parties), and practices in specific domains of public and political life - rule of law, constitutional morality, the opposition - without whichdemocracies cannot function or survive. The focus on institutions highlights the divergence between ideal and practice in the operation of democracy. The author contends that the institutions of civil society require an effective constitutional framework for their proper functioning, and that such aframework suffers when social movements set themselves continuously against the State's authority. The relationship between government and opposition acquires great value and significance in a democracy, and this issue has been examined in detail. The volume not only points to what remains neglected in the study of democracy but also offers an understanding of the ground on which democraciesrest.