The Terms of Democracy shows how democracy makes radical demands upon political leaders and citizens alike. By setting out the terms of democracy in a fresh and systematic way, Michael Saward provides compelling responses to many troubling questions in democratic theory. In a tightly-argued analysis, the book offers innovative accounts of the value of democracy, the links between direct and representative institutions, the question of political community, and trade-offs between democracy and competing values. Building on a justification for democracy which embraces scepticism, Saward argues that democracy means the responsiveness of government to citizens' wishes. He shows why direct democracy and an array of constitutionally guaranteed rights are crucial to democracy. A comprehensive framework for analysing trade-offs of democracy illuminates the interplay between democratic idealism and political realism. The discussion of political community cuts through conventional pessimism to show how democrats can respond positively to sub-group demands for autonomy. The Terms of Democracy will be welcomed by all those engaged in debates about democracy's present and future.
Michael Saward is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.