Demonstration Democracy

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Demonstration Democracy

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Title: Demonstration Democracy
Author: Etzioni, Amitai
Abstract: INTRODUCTION Each generation of Americans evolves its own procedures to sustain and reinforce democracy. While responsiveness to the needs of the people, the rule of the majority, and nonviolent changes of those in office characterize the assumptions underlying democratic procedures, the techniques used--such as town meetings and mass voting--differ from era to era. Our generation is characterized by the evolution of new means of mass communication, notably television; by an increased mobilization of underprivileged groups in their demands for active participation in the political and allocative processes; and by increasingly complex bureaucratic structures--in government, education, religion, and other areas. Demonstrations, I shall show in detail below, are a particularly effective mode of political expression in an age of television, for underprivileged groups, and for prodding stalemated bureaucracies into taking necessary actions. Indeed, demonstrations are becoming part of the daily routine of our democracy and its most distinctive mark. Today's American citizen has available a number of alternative forms of political action during the long periods between elections and in dealing with the numerous "private governments" not directly responsible to the electorate. In addition to writing letters to his representatives, submitting petitions, advertising in the press, and supporting organized pressure groups, a citizen may demonstrate to make known his views, especially his grievances, when expression through other means has brought no, or only inadequate, redress. In this sense, demonstrations are becoming for the citizen an avenue like strikes have become for the workers.
Description: TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 I THE RISE OF DEMONSTRATION DEMOCRACY 3 1. Frequency of demonstrations 3 2. The number of participants 5 3. The scope of participation 5 4. Demonstrations as a political tool 6 5. The violence of demonstrations 8 6. The public view of demonstrations 9 7. The role of television 12 II THE FUNCTIONS AND DYSFUNCTIONS OF DEMOCRATIC DEMONSTRATIONS 15 1. An analytic orientation 15 2. A digression into political theory 15 3. Comparison of political means: Some functions of demonstrations 17 4. The dysfunctions of demonstrations 20 4.1 The "flattening" effect 20 4.2 "Unrepresentative" representatives and "false" demonstrations 22 4.3 Volatility 27 a. Excessive restrictions 27 b. Provocation by "by-standers" 29 c. The police as a trigger 31 d. Provocation by demonstrators 35 e. The role of the media 39 5. The cooptation argument: poor sociology 40 6. Restoring civil disobedience to its special status 43
URI: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=24126622
http://hdl.handle.net/1961/573
Date: 1970


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