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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Why Politics Matters

Making Democracy Work

ISBN 9781403997395
Publication Date August 2006
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Achieving mass democracy was the great triumph of the last century. Learning to live with it will be the greatest achievement of this one. Stoker suggests that democracy must create a new politics, making it as easy as possible for as many people to participate. Winner of the Political Studies Association Book of the Year Prize 2006

  • Winner of the Political Studies Association Book Of The Year Prize 2006

GERRY STOKER is Professor of Politics and Governance at the University of Southampton, and is the author or editor of more than 20 books on various aspects of politics.

The Triumph of Democracy?
An Age of Political Discontent?
Explanations of Political Disenchantment
The Politics of Disappointment
The Decline of Citizen Engagement?
The Professionalization of Activism?
The Dangers of Cynicism
The Perils of Populism
Towards a Politics for Amateurs
Reviving Political Institutions
Creating a New Civic Arena


An impressive overview of the growing popular disenchantment with democratic politics across the advanced world which offers much thoughtful reflection about its deeper roots. Gerry Stoker's provocative central argument - that the underlying problem is not alienation from democracy, but naIveté about politics itself - warrants the attention of anyone concerned about the future of political life. His conclusion that we need to create a new 'politics for amateurs' is the right challenge for us all.' - Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University
'Readable, informative and insightful...Gerry Stoker dispels many misconceptions about what politics is and should be. His sober optimism backed up by careful consideration of a wide range of evidence, provides a valuable corrective to the relentless negativity and cynicism towards politics peddled in so much of the media. He makes a forceful and persuasive case for why politics matters and how to reclaim it for citizens.' - Andrew Gamble, University of Sheffield, UK
'[W]ritten in a very accessible and engaging style... Professor Stoker's book makes a very powerful argument [and one] very illuminating of the true meaning and functioning of politics' - Steven Van de Walle, Local Government Studies
'This is a very good book...the strength of Why Politics Matters is the breadth of the author's concerns, the humanity and measured judgements that inform his analysis, and, above all, his willingness to declare that the customer is not only not always right but also prone to more than a little hypocrisy in writing off those who do currently get their hands dirty...I will be content if everyone coming to study politics at university would read this admirable and approachable text.' - Dr Tim Bale, Representation
'[A] very good book... I will be content if everyone coming to study politics at university would read this admirable and approachable text.' - Tim Bale, Representation
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