This post is the last in our Summer Reading Group series discussing recent books on the current state of American democracy.  

Jonathan Haidt. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York, NY: Random House Inc., 2012.

By Sundar Ramanujam is a 2017 graduate of the M.A. program in Democracy and Governance.

After robust discussions on racial identity and inequality in America, the focus of our last discussion of our 2017 summer book club is set on understanding polarization and divide in American society. However, unlike the previous two sittings, a slightly different academic framework has been adopted in studying this political conundrum: psychology.

By Manuel Ayulo, Master’s Candidate of the Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University.

Why the Corporate Sector?

Corporate investment in global development activities has steadily increased for over a decade. According to a study in 2014, most development experts expect corporate global development to triple by 2025 while bilateral aid shrinks by 30 percent.[i] Given these market trends, it is not surprising that development agencies like USAID increasingly consider private sector engagement and investment as cornerstones of their development strategies.

By Jennifer Raymond Dresden, Associate Director of the Democracy & Governance Program

We’re turning now to our final installation of the summer book club, focusing more directly on the polarization and partisanship that has increasingly come to define political life in the United States.  Rather than cruise through the usual tomes of political finger-pointing, though, we’ll take a slightly different approach to the topic. 

By Matteo Laruffa, PhD candidate LUISS University

“Crisis of democracy”, “democracies in crisis”, “demise of democracy”, or even “democratic deconsolidation” – these phrases, along with many others, have become the focal points of countless political debates from political tabloids to the highest degree of academia. This shows that the issue is once again in vogue.

As with many phenomena in political science, ones relating to “democracies in crisis” have captured the imagination of a diverse group of scholars from Classical Athens to modern day. In the ancient world, Plato was among the first authors to discuss it, while only two centuries ago, Alexis de Tocqueville furthered the topic with a focus on the risks for representative democracies. In the Thirties with the first reverse wave, and in the Seventies with a massive decline of confidence in democratic institutions, there was significant growth of attention for this phenomenon. Today, political scientists are focusing their research to the crisis of democracy.