Democracy Paradox

The Democracy Paradox explores the diverse range of perspectives and insights about democracy through an interview format.

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Democracy Paradox

Democracy has different meanings to different people. Scholars might describe democracy as liberal, participatory, direct, militant, elitist, or open. The Democracy Paradox explores these contradictory and paradoxical interpretations of democracy through wide ranging conversations. Every week Democracy Paradox looks to political scientists, historians, sociologists, and even art historians to better understand democracy, politics, and the world around us. Past episodes have discussed civil resistance, African politics, social media, and polarization. Learn why our guests consider this interview the deepest reading of their work they have come across!

Featured Guests

Where To Start

Derek W. Black Says Public Education Represents the Idea of America... Not its Reality

Derek W. Black explains how the expansion of public education has developed alongside democracy in America. His recent book Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy links the current threat to public education to attacks on democracy. This is the 46th episode of the Democracy Paradox podcast.

A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Key Highlights Include

  • Derek explains the case for a right to education.
  • A brief history of public education in the United States
  • How the NAACP used the language of democracy in their litigation for school desegregation
  • Why vouchers and charter schools threaten public education
  • Finally, the intersection of public education and democracy runs throughout the conversation


Key Links

Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy by Derek W. Black

San Antonio Independent School District et. al. v. Rodriguez

Follow Derek W. Black @DerekWBlack

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Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on the Plutocratic Populism of the Republican Party

Carolyn Hendriks, Selen Ercan and John Boswell on Mending Democracy

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Sheryl WuDunn Paints a Picture of Poverty in America and Offers Hope for Solutions

Sheryl WuDunn describes intimate stories of inequality and poverty in her recent book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope (coauthored with Nicholas Kristof). She is a pulitzer prize winning reporter and business executive. This is the 45th episode of the Democracy Paradox podcast.

Key Highlights Include

  • Stories of Poverty and Inequality in America
  • Challenges in America in Education, Health, and Well-Being
  • Impact of Poverty on Children with an Explanation of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Collective Responsibility to Solve Social Problems
  • Rethinking of Social Programs as Investments Rather than Outlays


Key Links

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope - PBS Documentary Presented by Show of Force

Follow Sheryl on Twitter @WuDunn

Related Content

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on the Plutocratic Populism of the Republican Party

Zizi Papacharissi Dreams of What Comes After Democracy

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Chris Bickerton Defines Technopopulism

Chris Bickerton defines the concept of technopopulism. He is the author, alongside Carlo Invernizzi Accetti, of Technopopulism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics.

Key Highlights Include

  • Chris describes Technopopulism through an explanation of the Five Star Movement in Italy
  • We discuss how populists and technologists consider expertise
  • How technopopulism is different from classic interest-based politics
  • We discuss ANO and the Pirate Party in the Czech Republic
  • Barak Obama is analyzed in the lens of technopopulism
  • Chris explains how he thinks we can move beyond technopopulism


Chris Bickerton is a reader of of Modern European Politics at the University of Cambridge. Alongside Carlo Invernizzi Accetti, he is the coauthor of Technopopulism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics.  He is also a frequent panelist on Talking Politics.


Key Links

Technopopulism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics by Christopher Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

"Understanding the Illiberal Turn: Democratic Backsliding in the Czech Republic" by Seán Hanley and Milada Anna Vachudova

Five Star Movement at Wikipedia

Related Content

Chad Alan Goldberg on the Wisconsin Idea and the Role of the Public University in a Democracy

Thomas Carothers and Andrew O'Donohue are Worried About Severe Polarization

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Meet The Hosts

Justin Kempf

Host

Justin is the host of The Democracy Paradox which 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. As a blog author he writes weekly reviews on classic works of politics, international relations, and philosophy. Democracy is a complex and nuanced concept. It challenges our preconceptions. Take the time to explore the Democracy Paradox.

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