Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy

Autonomy vs. Control

Robert A. Dahl

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September 10, 1983
232 pages, x
ISBN: 9780300030761
Paper

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“Continuing his career-long exploration of modern democracy, Dahl addresses a question that has long vexed students of political theory: the place of independent organizations, associations, or special interest groups within the democratic state.”—The Wilson Quarterly
“There is probably no greater expert today on the subject of democratic theory than Dahl….His proposal for an ultimate adoption here of a ‘decentralized socialist economy,’ a system primarily of worker ownership and control of economic production, is daring but rational, reflecting his view that economic inequality seems destined to become the major issue here it historically has been in Europe.”—Library Journal
“Dahl reaffirms his commitment to pluralist democracy while attempting to come to terms with some of its defects.”—Laura Greyson, Worldview
“Anyone who is interested in these issues and who makes the effort the book requires will come away the better for it. And more. He will receive an explanation for our current difficulties that differs considerably from the explanation for our current difficulties that differs considerably from the explanation offered by the Reagan administration, and a prescription for the future which differs fundamentally from the nostrums emanating from the White House.”—Dennis Carrigan, The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal

"There is probably no greater expert on the today on the subject of democratic theory than Dahl. . . . His proposal for an ultimate adoption here of a 'decentralized socialist economy,' a system primarily of worker ownership and control of economic production, is daring but rational, reflecting his view that economic inequality seems destined to become the major issue here it historically has been in Europe. A valuable addition for academic libraries."—Library Journal

“Continuing his career-long exploration of modern democracy, Dahl addresses a question that has long vexed students of political theory: the place of independent organizations, associations, or special interest groups within the democratic state.”—Wilson Quarterly

 

“Dahl reaffirms his commitment to pluralist democracy while attempting to come to terms with some of its defects.”—Laura Greyson, Worldview

 

“Anyone who is interested in these issues and who makes the effort the book requires will come away the better for it. And more. He will receive an explanation for our current difficulties that differs considerably from the explanation for our current difficulties that differs considerably from the explanation offered by the Reagan administration, and a prescription for the future which differs fundamentally from the nostrums emanating from the White House.”—Dennis Carrigan, Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

"Elegant and timely. . . . [A] major work written by a first-rate theorist successfully engaged in doing what he does best: effectively drawing upon the literature of contemporary political practices to argue points of democratic theory."—David W. McConnell, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

"The breadth of Dahl's reading is nothing shy of stunning. . . . Essential reading for anyone who takes democracy seriously."—Kay Lehman Schlozman, Political Science Quarterly

"A far-ranging and original treatment of one of the most troubling aspects of contemporary democratic theory: what is the proper role of groups in democratic society? . . . Dilemmas is an inquiry that goes to the very heart of democratic thinking and practice. It is an important book that deserves to be widely read."—Robert J. Waste, The American Political Science Review

"A quarter of a century after A Preface to Democratic Theory, Dahl displays once again rare powers of rigorous analysis combined with a marvelously clear and, at the same time, elegant writing style. He remains as intellectually challenging as he was then."—John C. Donovan, Social Science Quarterly

Winner of the Gladys M. Kammerer Award in 1983 from the American Political Science Association
 
"Rises above the descriptive level of most books and directs our attention to theoretical concerns in a way which gives the work a broader scope and the richness we have come to associate with the classic texts. . . . The clarity of his analysis advances our understanding of modern democracy and focuses our attention on questions central to the discipline."—Kristen Monroe, Princeton University, New York University, in citation for Kammerer prize