What Kind of Democracy Is This?

Politics in a Changing World

Matt Flinders

What Kind of Democracy Is This?

Matt Flinders

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

208 pages | 8 1/2 x 5 3/4
Paper $38.95 ISBN: 9781447337621 Published September 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Has there ever been a period in modern history when democratic politics seemed more unpredictable or unruly? In the face of a set of global challenges almost beyond control or comprehension, the old rules by which politics were once both ordered and understood have waned. Very few voices exist to help us comprehend these challenges—commentators who can run the gamut from democracy to disgust, from the micro to the macro, and from love to loathing. And yet this is exactly what Matt Flinders delivers in this book, expertly ranging across topics as diverse as architecture, art, mountain running, and fairy tales in his attempt to understand the emerging democratic landscape. Refreshing and stimulating, What Kind of Democracy Is This? is an engagingly written melding of political scholarship and popular culture that both informs and provokes.
Contents
Before you open the post…
 
1st post: Life, feral politics and fell running
1 Fire and ashes: Success and failure in politics
2 Down and out in Bloemfontein
3 Reveries of a solitary fell runner
4 Feral politics: Searching for meaning in the 21st century
5 Sharks, asylum seekers and Australian politics
6 The smart fork and the crowding out of thought
7 ‘Vape’- a word that encapsulates the nothingness of today
8 Saints and sinners, politicians and priests
9 Why satire is no joke anymore
 
2nd post: Democracy and disgust, love and loathing
10 In our name: The ethics of democracy
11 The problems with democracy- continuing the conversation into a new year
12 Do we have too much democracy?
13 Calming the storm: Bernard Crick, defending politics and the importance of citizenship
14 Look beneath the vote
15 Democracy is more than a vote: Politics and brand management
16 Beastly Eastleigh and the ‘None-of-the-Above’ Party
17 Where next? New politics, kinder politics and the myth of anti-politics
 
3rd post: Representation, disintegration and desire
18 What a mess! The politics and governance of the British constitution
19 The Dis-United Kingdom?
20 A new and fair constitutional settlement? Beware of constitutional hyper-activism
21 Looking beyond the Scottish referendum
22 The colour of nastiness and the paradox of civility
23 Learning to love democracy: A note to William Hague
24 Let the people speak! Devolution, decentralization, deliberation
25 Raw politics: Devolution, democracy and deliberation
 
4th post: Pressure, personality and politics
26 Vote Jeremy Clarkson on 7 May! Celebrity politics and political reality
27 After the storm: Failure, fallout and Farage
28 Tony Benn was a true man of the people
29 Dear Russell Brand: On the politics of comedy and disengagement
30 Foolish, but no fool: Boris Johnson and the art of politics
31 Remembering Margaret Thatcher
32 Trump that: The failure and farce of American politics
33 Mad politics
 
5th post: Art a architecture, politics and protest
34 Shake your chains: Politics, poetry and protest
35 DIY democracy: Festivals, parks and fun
36 Participatory arts and active citizenship
37 The body politic: Art, pain, Putin
38 It’s just a joke!
39 Left behind? The future of progressive politics
40 Why Parliament matters: Waging war and restraining power
41 Rip it up and start again
42 Democracy Day: We need to break free
 
6th post: Fig leaves and fairy rales
43 Attack ads and American presidential politics
44 Dante and the spin doctors
45 Democratic realism
46 Bang, bang- democracy’s dead: Obama and the politics of gun control
47 Fig leaves and fairy tales: Political promises and the ‘Truth-O-Meter’
48 Disengaged Britain: ‘Don’t vote, it just encourages the b**tards’
49 The blunders of our governments
50 Dear Maria Miller, it really wasn’t all your fault
51 Bring me a scapegoat to destroy: Babies, blame and bargains
 
The last post: Making politics relevant in a post-truth world
52 Explaining political disaffection: Closing the expectations gap
53 Politics without vision
54 Dangerous minds: ‘Public’ political science and ‘punk’ political science?
55 Claims of increasing irrelevance of universities are ideology masquerading as evidence
56 The dismal debate: Would a ‘Brexit’ mean more power in the UK?
57 Post-truth, post-political, post-democracy: The tragedy of the UK’s referendum on the European Union
58 A talent for politics? The ‘great scholar, poor politician’ thesis
59 Standing up and shaping the agenda: Rejecting discrimination, embracing difference
60 Welcome to the year of living dangerously- 2017
 
A special delivery: ‘So, what kind of democracy is this?’
 
Notes
Sources
Index
 
Review Quotes
Alasdair Roberts, University of Missouri
"Democratic politics is a glorious, dangerous, and ever-changing game. These short commentaries are insightful, easily read, and just as lively as the game itself."
Melvin J. Dubnick,  University of New Hampshire
"A brilliant effort by one of our most prolific writers to engage us in the public dialog so urgently needed in a world of Trumps, Brexits, and other populist challenges."
Gerry Stoker, University of Southampton and University of Canberra
"This a book that the interested reader can read a couple of chapters of before bed or on the train and get insight, enlightenment, and an occasional smile. It captures many of the  issues and discontents facing many democracies and begins to talk about how they might be addressed."
Right Honourable Lord David Blunkett, University of Sheffield
"An extremely unusual, accessible, and innovative way of getting across crucial messages not only about the importance of democracy but how it affects a whole range of aspects of our lives. I hope that people will find it as entertaining and intriguing as I do."
Mark Bovens, Utrecht University School of Governance
"A very elegant collection of concise comments on contemporary politics—witty, thought-provoking, and a great read."
Claire Ainsley, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
“[In] an accessible series of thought-provoking posts, Flinders draws on political science to bring a fresh interpretation to many of today’s most topical political events.”
Angelia R. Wilson, University of Manchester
"What an engaging and FUN book! Flinders's thoughts are accessible, challenging, and insightful. A must-read not just for politics academics but for anyone interested in the apparent ‘madness’ of our contemporary democracy."
Rosie Campbell, Birkbeck University
A skillfully crafted succession of humorous, scholarly, and thought-provoking insights into contemporary democratic politics and more. . . . Should most definitely be on the coffee tables and secretly read in the loos of all serious politicos."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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