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The Down-Deep Delight of Democracy

ISBN: 978-1-4443-4997-9
184 pages
April 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
The Down-Deep Delight of Democracy (144434997X) cover image


Arguing that the hegemony of the neoliberal/capitalist nexus must be challenged if we are to address the proliferating challenges facing our world, this inspiring book explains how democracy can revive the political fortunes of the left.
  • Explores issues central to the civil uprisings that swept the world in 2011, drawing profound connections between democracy and neoliberalism in an urban context
  • Features in-depth analysis of key political theorists such as Gramsci; Lefebvre; Rancière; Deleuze and Guattari; and Hardt and Negri
  • Advocates the reframing of democracy as a personal and collective struggle to discover the best in ourselves and others
  • Includes empirical analysis of recent instances of collective action
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

1 What Is to Be Done? 1

2 What Democracy Means 29

3 Becoming Democratic 75

4 Becoming Active 92

5 Revolutionary Connections 122

6 Conclusion 143

References 159

Index 168

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Author Information

Mark Purcell is Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Design & Planning at the University of Washington, USA, where he researches urban politics, political theory, social movements, and democracy. He is the author of Recapturing Democracy (2008) and numerous articles in journals including International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, Environment and Planning, Antipode, Urban Studies, Political Geography, Review of International Political Economy, and Planning Theory.
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“Summing Up: Recommended.  Upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections.”  (Choice, 1 December 2013)

“. . .DDDD is a great start toward an examination of democratic possibilities. Purcell’s point is that people are finding their democratic strength in the world; people are claiming their own power with others in interesting ways. We can see these practices if we look with interest and cultivate them if we give them space. Actual practices of democratic, anarchic self-discovery are happening everywhere. When we recognize them we can (and should) give them space and help them grow.”  (Antipode , 1 October 2013)


‘This is an exceptional book. It is dense, closely reasoned, scholarly, indispensable as a reference, yet impassioned and oriented to practical political activity. It traces the history of democracy, its evolution in philosophy and in practice, and views democracy as a never-ending process, building on what exists, ever moving to what could be. It is a provocation both to thought and to action, aimed both at educators and Occupy activists.’—Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University

‘Mark Purcell criticizes neoliberals and neo-Keynsians alike as supporting oligarchy. He establishes democracy as a transcendent goal—but one that is a process always in a state of becoming, not an end point. Whether or not one agrees with him on the supremacy of democracy above all other ends, his views are challenging and enlightening.’—Susan S. Fainstein, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, USA

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