The Secret History of Democracy by Benjamin Isakhan

The Secret History of Democracy

byBenjamin Isakhan, Stephen Stockwell

Paperback | January 28, 2011

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Could democracy have a "secret" history? Most of us are familiar with a history of democracy that emphasizes the keystone moments in the story of Western civilization: the achievements of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the more recent development of the British parliament, the American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution, and the gradual global spread of democracy since the end of the Cold War. The central argument of this book is that there is much more to the history of democracy than this standard history admits. There is a whole "secret" history, too big, complex and insufficiently 'Western' in character to be included in common accounts.

In exploring The Secret History of Democracy, the contributors establish that democracy was developing in the Middle East, India and China before classical Athens, clung on during the "Dark Ages" in Islam, Iceland and Venice, was often part of tribal life in Africa, North America and Australia, and has developed in unexpected ways through the grassroots activism of Muslims, feminists and technophiles.

About The Author

BENJAMIN ISAKHAN is Research Fellowat the Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe University, Australia. He is the author of several publications including Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics and Discourse (2010).STEPHEN STOCKWELLis Professor of Journalism and Communication at Griffith University's Gold Coast campus, Australia. He was previous...
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Title:The Secret History of DemocracyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.02 inPublished:January 28, 2011Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan UKLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230375103

ISBN - 13:9780230375109

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Democracy and History
PART I: PRE-ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY
What is so 'Primitive' about 'Primitive Democracy'? Comparing the Ancient Middle East and Classical Athens; B.Isakhan
Before Athens: Early Popular Government in Phoenicia and Greek City States; S.Stockwell
Republics and Quasi-Democratic Institutions in Ancient India; S.Muhlberger
Digging for Democracy in China; P.Keating
PART II: DEMOCRACY IN THE 'DARK AGES'
Behind a Veil: Islam's Democratic History; M.Abdalla& H.Rane
Ideals and Aspirations: Democracy and Law-Making in Medieval Iceland; P.P.Boulhosa
Democratic Culture in the Early Venetian Republic; S.Stockwell
PARR III: INDIGENOUS DEMOCRACY AND COLONIALISM
Africa's Indigenous Democracies: The Baganda of Uganda; I.Kizza
The Hunters who Owned Themselves; P.Paine
Aboriginal Australia and Democracy: Old Traditions, New Challenges; L.Behrendt
The Pre-History of the Post-Apartheid Settlement: Non-Racial Democracy in South Africa's Cape Colony, 1853-1936; P.Fry
PART IV: ALTERNATIVE CURRENTS IN MODERN DEMOCRACY
Birthing Democracy: The Role of Women in the Democratic Discourse of the Middle East; K.L.Gandolfo
The Streets of Iraq: Protests and Democracy after Saddam; B. Isakhan
Monitory Democracy? The Secret History of Democracy Since 1945; J.Keane
Conclusion: Democratizing the History of Democracy;B.Isakhan& S.Stockwell

Editorial Reviews

"The thought-provoking essays gathered in The Secret History of Democracy provide convincing evidence that democratic mechanisms have been invented many times and in many places, including times and places neglected in common accounts. This collection is a sobering reminder that democratic practices have often been succeeded by something else. But one also takes away a sense of the dynamic character of democratic history and the endless diversity of practices with some reasonable claim to embody democratic principles. As growing numbers wonder about what sorts of political institutions make sense in the face of the enormous problems confronting the twenty-first century, this demonstration of the long human history of political creativity gives some reason for hope." - John Markoff, Professor, University of Pittsburgh