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The Democracy Paradox explores the diverse range of perspectives and insights about democracy through an interview format. Every week new scholars are invited to share their breakthrough research or bold ideas about politics, economics, and society. Most interviews are stand alone episodes, but some are tied together like the three episode arc "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy" which explored the concept of civil resistance and revolution to produce democracies. These three interviews featu ...
 
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show series
 
"We don’t pay enough attention to the sensory aspects of what it means to be equal. That’s what it fundamentally is. That’s the presupposition of democracy. Not the goal. The presupposition is that we are equal, but does our comportment reinforce that or does it re-institute hierarchies." Kajri Jain A full transcript is available at www.democracypa…
 
A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. It’s common for Westerners to lecture Africans about democracy. Most Africans will admit their different political systems have many problems. Money is exchanged for votes, elections are rigged, and sometimes violence even breaks out. But the challenges African countries face in the proces…
 
A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. My thoughts on polarization have changed over the past few years. On the one hand, polarization can be a danger to democracy. Milan Svolik among others have shown how strong ideological positions lead some voters to support leaders they know are undemocratic. Moreover, democracy depends on…
 
A complete transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Over the past ten years social media has reshaped politics. Fake news and political disinformation have become a part of the political discourse. But social media has also brought about meaningful change through the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements. Social media has allowed dissi…
 
A transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Democracy depends on distinctions between political parties. Every election they offer clear choices on economic proposals. In recent years, cultural issues have added a new dimension to the polarization of American politics. But the 2020 election added a dangerous dimension to the political di…
 
A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com. Barrington Moore famously claimed, “No bourgeoisie. No democracy.” Many scholars before and after Moore have argued the middle class is necessary for successful democratization. But Moore had a specific image of the middle class. The bourgeoisie were not simply white-collar professionals. …
 
Political theorist Takis Pappas has described the formation of liberal democracy as an elite project. Its creation was dependent on the decisions of political leaders rather than the public. But over the subsequent decades the space between politicians and their constituents has grown smaller. It is now unclear whether elected officials remain poli…
 
Recent events in the United States have shown how even the most established democracies have much to learn about democracy. But my guest Winston Mano does not like to talk about democracy. He prefers to talk about democratization because the process never ends. Our conversation focuses on Africa with many topics discussed including social media, de…
 
The German Question haunted international relations for generations. Like China, it was a rising authoritarian power. But its successful democratization after the Second World War cast an amnesia upon the uncertainty and anxiety it had caused the international community. Today democracy in Germany is taken for granted. It is a force of democratic s…
 
Madison’s Federalist 10 makes an unusual case. He argued the size and diversity of the United States is a critical safeguard against the dominance of any single faction. Of course, it is well-known that the Founding Fathers were wary of all factions, political parties and, most of all, the tyranny of the majority. The American constitution is even …
 
The origin of the third wave of democratization is commonly dated to the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974. The fall of the Soviet Union accelerated this process until about 2005 when the pace began to slow and it even began to reverse. But Robert Dahl thought about waves of democratization differently. He believed a democratic wave was more…
 
This week America discovered some startling news. Russians hacked into the email systems of the Commerce and Treasury Departments. The information age has brought about a new era of intelligence and espionage. This was a blatant act of theft, but more subtle forms of espionage are available. Globalization has left many institutions vulnerable to fo…
 
There is a book that was written in 1989 called Democracy and its Critics. The renowned Robert Dahl is the author. In the book, he answers objections to critiques of democracy through a series of dialogues. One of them has stuck with me because I hear it so often: The problem with democracy is it is not democratic enough. Many of the scholars who a…
 
Last October Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey shook the sports world with a tweet. It said, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Pretty simple. Not controversial…. at least, not controversial in the United States. But China was offended. They cut off all economic ties with the Rockets and demanded an apology from the National Basketball Associa…
 
China is a nation of contradictions. It is a developing economy that is an economic powerhouse. It is a rising power that is already a great power. It is a communist state that has embraced capitalism. The dualism of yin and yang is not simply an element of Chinese philosophy. It is a source of modern Chinese identity. This is part two of “Liberali…
 
Democracy is often imagined at its purest at a micro level. Town hall meetings are sometimes imagined as a simpler form of democratic governance, so international relations can feel as though it is miles away from democracy. Andy yet, it is the international liberal order which has brought about the vast proliferation of democracy around the world.…
 
Political Scientist Seymour Martin Lipset wrote, “A person who knows only one country doesn't know any country because you're not sensitized to what is unique, what is different, what is special about your country.” Brazil offers a parallel to the United States because it has a populist President who is active on social media and has been indiffere…
 
Millions of Americans are voting for the President of the United States. Some of you will hear this episode before the election is over. Others will likely listen after the election is over. I hope my conversation with William Howell and Terry Moe will have relevance no matter when you listen. William is Chair of the Department of Political Science…
 
Democratic values are about more than politics. They permeate throughout society and into the economy. Barbara Freese has examined how corporate leaders have not lived up to these values. She offers examples like the tobacco industry, the use of lead in gasoline, and global warming to demonstrate how they have avoided not just accountability but an…
 
The Russian interference in the 2016 American Presidential election brought Russia to the forefront of conversations about international relations. But it has also given us a one-dimensional view of this complex country. Today’s conversation is about Russian Conservatism with historian Paul Robinson. We talk about conservatism as an ideology, we ta…
 
The United States has a long tradition of direct democracy through referendums dating back to the early years of the republic. Nearly every state today has some form of referendums or ballot initiatives. Yet the United States has never had a national referendum. John Matsusaka points out that from a comparative perspective, this is unusual. Nearly …
 
Federalism has become marginalized in academic literature. Everybody knows the United States depends on a federal system, but few talk about it. The nationalization of politics makes federalism feel esoteric and obsolete. My conversation with Donald Kettl explains why federalism remains vibrant and relevant. And it is necessary to understand Americ…
 
Jenna Spinelle, co-host of Democracy Works, joins the Democracy Paradox as a guest host as Justin recaps the three-part episode arc "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy." The tables are turned as Justin is interviewed about his background, thoughts on democracy, and final ideas about the past three episodes. Jenna conducts the interviews for the awar…
 
Jonathan Pinckney is a program office with the Program on Nonviolent Action at the United States Institute of Peace and the author of From Dissent to Democracy: The Promise and Perils of Civil Resistance Transitions. This is the third part of a three episode arc called, "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy." My conversation with Erica Chenoweth explo…
 
This is the second part of the three episode arc called "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy." George Lawson joins to discuss revolutions. His book, Anatomies of Revolution, offers both a historical framework to understand revolutions, but also analyzes them in their own unique context. We talk about all kinds of revolutions from history and current …
 
This is the first conversation in a three part episode arc called "Resistance, Revolution, Democracy." In this interview, Erica Chenoweth explains why civil resistance is more effective than violent resistance, why it is more likely to bring about democracy, and the strengths and challenges every campaign faces. This interview sets the stage for th…
 
When there are no choices left, people resist. Resistance brings revolution. And sometimes a revolution brings about democracy. Over the next three weeks the Democracy Paradox will interview scholars to explore these topics. Erica Chenoweth will discuss Civil Resistance. George Lawson explains his research on Revolutions. And Jonathan Pinckney help…
 
A few fun disclaimers. I am a graduate of the Kelley School of Business MBA program where Jill Long Thompson teaches. My wife is a graduate of the Master's program at the School of Public and Environmental Affaits (SPEA) where Jill also works. And yet, we did not know each other before I reached out to her about the podcast. But I did know of her b…
 
My conversation with Juliet explores what is called the sharing economy. Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have transformed the economy and reshaped what it means to work. We discuss her book After The Gig: How the Sharing Economy got Hijacked and How to Win it Back. It explores the impacts of these platforms on society. The discussion delves into topics like…
 
Many scholars use the interwar period as a cautionary tale of democratic breakdown and collapse, but it was also a period of remarkable democratic stability in an age of crisis. Agnes Cornell and Svend-Eric Skaaning join your host, Justin Kempf, to discuss the first era of widespread democratization, the interwar period. The conversation focuses on…
 
The ninth episode revisits the initiative referendum except it introduces an important twist. John Gastil and Katherine Knobloch are the authors of Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back into Politics. They consider how the idea of deliberative democracy was able to influence initiative referendums through a new institution called t…
 
The eighth episode of the Democracy Paradox features Israeli scholar Yael Tamir as we discuss her recent book Why Nationalism. Yael Tamir offers a refreshing look at nationalism as she looks to reclaim the concept from conservatives. We delve into some of the important concepts of her book but also apply these ideas to current events including the …
 
The seventh episode of the Democracy Paradox focuses on the secondary effects of direct democracy with Joshua (Josh) J. Dyck and Edward (Ted) L. Lascher, Jr. Their recent book Initiatives without Engagement: A Realistic Appraisal of Direct Democracy’s Secondary Effects. Typically, initiative referendums are discussed as a philosophical component of…
 
This episode features William S. Smith, author of Democracy and Imperialism: Irving Babbitt and Warlike Democracies. Irving Babbitt is an underappreciated political theorist. He wrote the classic Democracy and Leadership in 1924 before the Behavioralist Revolution of the 1950s so his work is often overlooked by contemporary political scientists. Ba…
 
Takis Pappas is the author of Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis. We have an hour long conversation about populism, liberalism and democracy. The interview lays out some of these key concepts but also includes some discussion of specific examples including Orban, Trump and Greece. We talk quite a bit about the co…
 
Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon are the authors of Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order. We had a 90 minute conversation on some important topics for the study of international relations. The first part discusses some key concepts in their book like "hegemony" and the "liberal world order." Dan and Alex both give a grea…
 
Luis Cabrera is the author of The Humble Cosmopolitan: Rights, Diversity, and Trans-state Democracy. He is Associate Professor in the Griffith Asia Institute and the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. His research focuses on global citizenship, human rights, and justice. The interview exp…
 
Marlene Mauk is the author of Citizen Support for Democratic and Autocratic Regimes. Support for autocratic regimes is a neglected topic up until the last few years. We discuss why citizens support autocracies, democracies and what this means for advocates of democracy. We have an interesting discussion about the potential for democracy in Africa. …
 
Episode 1: The inaugural episode explores Hannah Arendt's book The Origins of Totalitarianism. This is the only monologue in the series. Every other episode features a guest interview. It focuses on the distinction between the law and the state. Arendt loosely defines totalitarianism as the presence of the state in absence of law.…
 
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