Introduction: beyond the royal science of politics
Anxieties over democracy in the post-war era, reinvigorated by philosophical nostalgia for the modern icons of civic engagement - including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill and James Madison - resulted in a flourishing industry of academic writing on political participation, especially in the English-speaking world and particularly in the field of political science. Almond and Verba's legendary The Civic Culture (1963) and Carole Pateman's Participation and Democratic Theory (1970), together with Robert Dahl's and Seymor Martin Lipset's works on democratic theory, are just a few of the most prominent names and different works that have become the pillars of a very influential clergy, which has helped circumscribe contemporary understandings of politics. The paradigm introduced by such thinkers (and supported more effervescently by republicans than by liberals) did not seek to replace or challenge the privileged political form that is 'representative democracy'; rather, it assumed that 'mass participation is the lifeblood of representative democracy' (Norris 2002: 5), and identified elitism as that which impedes the reinvigoration of democratic regimes (see Schumpeter 1950).
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