Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present is a comprehensive textbook to guide students through the complexities of social theory today. Over 30 chapters, written by an international team of contributors, demonstrate clearly the practical applications of social theory in making sense of the modern world. Students are both introduced to the most significant theories and guided through the major social developments which shape our lives. Key features of the book are: clearly structured and readable prose; bullet pointed summaries and annotated further reading for each topic; makes complex issues accessible to undergraduates; focuses on relevance and practicality; chapter lay-out which is ideal for t

Democracy: Liberal and Direct

Democracy: Liberal and direct

In both contemporary practice and current theory, democracy has two striking qualities. First, it is intimately associated with progress, legitimacy, fairness and other values which are universally viewed as positive. In most parts of the world even political leaders who are widely viewed as being undemocratic can rarely afford to eschew the label ‘democrat’ if they wish to retain support. The desirability of ‘rule by the people’ (the etymology of democracy), rather than by an elite or an autocrat of some kind, is now taken for granted by virtually everyone in the northern hemisphere and probably by the vast majority in the southern hemisphere. Theorists of politics and society also take as read the legitimacy of the quest ...

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