[Address updated: 1/22/2016, 10 am] The Society for U.S. Intellectual History (S-USIH) is currently accepting submissions for the inaugural Dorothy Ross Prize for best article in US intellectual history by an emerging scholar (defined as a current graduate student or […]
ANNUAL BOOK AWARD FOR BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 2015 SUBMISSION DEADLINE: JANUARY 31, 2016 For contact information regarding where to send copies of books, please email: email@example.com The winner of the book award will be honored at the annual conference to […]
Please use this page to collaborate on creating COMPLETE PANELS for the 2016 conference. The committee is especially eager to ensure ethnic, gender and institutional diversity at the conference. We welcome the participation of graduate students, independent scholars, and all […]
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One of the classics of political theory that I have been eager to read is Peter Bachrach’s The Theory of Democratic Elitism (1967). Like the best works of Albert Hirschman, it is both compact and dense; it is very difficult to do it justice in a brief space such as this. It is explicitly a rejoinder to the pluralist theories of democracy most associated with Robert Dahl, the author of Who Governs: Democracy and Power in an American City (1961) among many other works. Bachrach is also perhaps familiar to you by his widely-cited article “Two Faces of Power” (1962), which also took Dahl as its key opponent.
That article is quite interesting by itself, but for now I want to articulate a question that is, in some ways, the essential question of Bachrach’s book but that also goes basically unspoken, answered in the breach as it were. Are all forms of elitism also anti-democratic?