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Herodotus and his WorldEssays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest$
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Peter Derow and Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.001.0001

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Democracy without Theory

Democracy without Theory

Chapter:
(p.319) 19 Democracy without Theory
Source:
Herodotus and his World
Author(s):

John K. Davies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253746.003.0019

This chapter on the emergence of democracy in Greek antiquity distinguishes five scholarly approaches to the topic: via factuality, mentalities, ideologies, history of philosophy, or its applicability to the present day. It argues that the system called ‘democracy’, far from being formulated as a desirable goal, emerged within societies already well furnished with institutions, doing so as an unplanned assemblage of responses to political crises. Responses were mostly directed towards preventing the recurrence of various system failures (e.g., tyranny and other usurpations of power, regionalism, embezzlement, bribery, and patronage) in ways which lacked any theoretical substrate but were embedded in long-standing social and legal habitus.

Keywords:   bribery, democracy, embezzlement, habitus, institutions, patronage

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