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August 18, 2020
9781421440491
9780801878855
English
312
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$39.95 USD, £29.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time

The pace of American society has quickened exponentially since the Founding Fathers first mapped the constitution. Information travels at the speed of light; so does money. We can hop from one side of the country to the other in a matter of hours, contact our elected officials instantaneously, and share our views with thousands of people at the touch of a button.

Both academia and the popular media have grappled with the consequences of this acceleration on every aspect of contemporary life. Most pressing, however, may be its impact on political life. In Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time, William Scheuerman offers a sophisticated assessment of the implications of social and technological celerity in the operation of liberal democracies. Specifically, he asks what is acceleration's main impact on the traditional liberal democratic model of the separation of powers?

According to Scheuerman, high speed has created an imbalance. The executive branch was intended to react with dispatch; by contrast, legislatures and the courts were designed to be more deliberate and thoughtful. While this system of checks and balances was effective in the age of horse and buggy, Scheuerman argues that the very features that were these institutions' strengths may now be a liability. Throughout this book, Scheuerman offers a constructive critique which articulates ways in which "liberal democracy might be recalibrated in accordance with the tempo of modern society.

About the Authors

William E. Scheuerman, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is the author of two previous books analyzing the fate of liberal democratic institutions amid the recent social and economic transformations.

Reviews

"How has increased speed in all fields affected the working of traditional democratic institutions? Scheuerman, whose intimate familiarity with political philosophy is evident, raises this fascinating question throughout this excellent scholarly treatise . . . A fine contribution to the literature on the problems of modern liberal democracy."—Choice

"Does globalization spell the end of the rule of law? Is democratic constitutionalism compatible with the phenomena of social acceleration? Or is quick yet unaccountable decision-making dressed up as 'governance' and soft law the inevitable replacement for anachronistic and slow forms of deliberative democracy? In this fascinating book, William Scheuerman addresses these and other crucial questions raised by the global 'empire of speed' with acuity and precision. His analysis and his answers are penetrating and disturbing. This is a 'must read' for anyone concerned with democracy or constitutionalism."—Jean Cohen, Columbia University

"William Scheuerman has produced an impressive contribution to the ongoing debate on the implications of social acceleration for liberal democracy. His focus on the social experience of speed raises profound questions for the future of democratic life. Scheuerman does not opt for yet another 'doomsday account of the crisis of liberal democracy.' Instead, he offers the intriguing prospect of the renewal of liberal democracy, but only after an honest assessment of the pathologies of our current age. This is a first-rate contribution to the literature which deserves to be widely read and discussed."—Colin Harvey, School of Law, University of Leeds

"A fine contribution to the literature on the problems of modern liberal democracy."—Choice

The Johns Hopkins University Press

9781421440491 : liberal-democracy-and-the-social-acceleration-of-time-scheuerman-scheuerman-scheuerman
Electronic book text
312 Pages
$39.95 USD

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Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time

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Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time

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