Notes on Social Theory: Histories of the Crisis of Democracy

After many, many months in the works, the New York Review of Books just published a piece in which I attempt to review four of the new books about the crisis of democracy – Mounk, Levitsky and Ziblatt, Snyder and Runciman – and locate them in relation to debates about the fate of US politics.

It wasn’t an easy assignment and it was reassuring to see that several folks have been struggling with the same job. I particularly appreciated Jan-Werner Müller’s take on Levitsky/Ziblatt and Runicman in The Nation.

There are connections to the political argument that runs through Crashed, which I need a bit more space to tease out over the summer.

In the mean time the NYRB piece complements two other essays on democracy that I’ve had to write in recent years.

One was in Geschichte und Gesellschaft on narratives of democracy and democratic crisis. Download here: Tooze Democracy GG 2018

My take on David Runciman’s thesis developed between 2018 and 2019 also through getting to know David better.

But the debate about contemporary democracy, particularly in Europe, goes back well before 2016. And the first essay I had to write about the topic span not out of Crashed but out of Deluge. It was published in the volume edited with Tim B. Müller on democracy and WWI (Tim did all the work!). The english version of that essay can be downloaded here: Tooze WWI democratization

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