In past decades, democratic theory has been on the defensive, largely as a result of the disappointments of democratic practice. The essays in this volume reflect critically on the theory in the light of those failures and with the corresponding assumption of an indissoluble connection between theory and practice. If theory maintains a monastic impeccability, untouched by the world, it will be sterile and fit merely for arid disputes. Nor can practice stand alone: it varies and changes and is subject to different interpretations. Success will come to it partly through the impact of empirical and prescriptive analysis. The volume is organised in sections, dealing in turn with the changing meanings and evaluations of democracy with classical theories with the revisions and critiques of these theories deriving from existing circumstances and with attempts to extend and to consolidate more adequate and secure theories of democracy. Among the thinkers considered are Mill, de Tocqueville, Marx and Marcuse, while the topics include bureaucracy, feminism, corporatism and social democracy.
Together the essays will provide comprehensive review of the past condition and future prospects for democratic theory in practice.