Dahl's collected essays give more weight to his achievements as a philosopher of democracy than to his empirical investigations. Nevertheless, they clearly reflect his habit of working close to empirical facts, in particular the problems created for democratic practices by the size of modern political societies, their pluralism, and their intricate involvement with capitalism. His trenchant account, under the head of “polyarchy,” of basic democracy, of the further criteria for full democracy, and of the conditions for achieving democracy at both these levels has established the current standard for discussing democratic theory. Moreover, he clears the way for continuing hope for democracy by demolishing (by arguments supported by observations) the ruling-elite model and advances the prospects of democracy by championing a variety of jurisdictional arrangements for citizens' participation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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