Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy: 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy

3rd Edition

By Anthony H. Birch


320 pages

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pub: 2007-04-12
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This highly acclaimed and popular academic text is now available in a new edition, having been revised and updated to cover the analyses of the use, abuse and ambiguity of many essential concepts used in political discourse and political studies. These include basic concepts such as liberty, democracy, rights, representation, authority and political power.

New to this edition are three sections of great topical interest:

  • entirely original analysis of global terrorism, which puts the recent developments of Islamic terrorism into perspective by comparing it with earlier examples of terrorist tactics by a variety of state agencies, revolutionary groups and minority nationalist movements
  • extended discussion on multiculturalism, which supplements theoretical arguments with succinct summaries of the differing ways in which ethnic and cultural minorities have been dealt with in Canada, Britain, France and the Netherlands
  • section on democratization that focuses on the problems, social and political and even theological, involved in turning authoritarian regimes into stable democracies in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy is a stimulating guide to current world problems as well as essential reading for foundation courses at first or second year level such as elements of politics, political concepts and ideas and fundamentals in politics.


"This new third edition of Tony Birch's The Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy provides a lively, readable, and unfailingly interesting introduction to the problems and promises of modern democratic theory and practice. With its detailed discussion of terrorism and of the difficulties facing anyone who wishes to plant democratic seeds in alien soil, the text is as timely as today's headlines." -Terence Ball, Arizona State University, USA

"The third edition of Professor Birch’s book will be welcomed by the scholarly community. This is a mature, comprehensive and balanced reflection on the current state of democratic theory, which is sorely needed as we move rapidly into the 21st century. Professor Birch has been working on democratic theory for many years now and the present volume forms a rich and comprehensive introduction for contemporary students of politics. One major advantage it brings is that the study has far deeper intellectual roots in the discipline of politics, as it formed over the 20th century. This is a distinct advantage over the average introductory texts on democratic theory. The student will be able to grasp many of the key themes and issue of democratic theory in a much more intellectually satisfying disciplinary format. The third edition has been thoroughly updated to include comparative material on terrorism, multicultural and nationalist theory and the recent complex process of democratization." - Andrew Vincent, Sheffield University, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: Authority in the Modern State 2. Nationalism and the National State 3. Ethnic Cleavages, Multiculturalism and the National State 4. Globalization and the National State 5. Global Terrorism 6. Political Authority and Legitimacy Part 2: The Democratic State and the Citizen 7. Democracy 8. Political Representation 9. Political Participation 10. Liberty and Freedom 11. Rights Part 3: Political Power and Policy Making 12. Political Power 13. Pluralism 14. Elitism & Class Dominance 15. Corporatism Part 4: Styles of Political Analysis 16. Towards a Science of Politics: Positivism, Behaviouralism and Economic Models 17. Against a Science of Politics: Values, Historicism and Hermeutics

About the Author

Anthony H. Birch is Emeritus Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada. He has London degrees and pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard and the University of Chicago. He has taught political science at universities in England, the United States, Australia and Canada, has published eight books and numerous articles, has served for three years as Vice-President of the International Political Science Association and is Fellow of the Royal Society in Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory