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  • Cited by 229
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2019
Print publication year:
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Book description

Is democracy in crisis? The current threats to democracy are not just political: they are deeply embedded in the democracies of today, in current economic, social, and cultural conditions. In Crises of Democracy, Adam Przeworski presents a panorama of the political situation throughout the world of established democracies, places it in the context of past misadventures of democratic regimes, and speculates on the prospects. Our present state of knowledge does not support facile conclusions. 'We should not believe the flood of writings that have all the answers'. Avoiding technical aspects, this book is addressed not only to professional social scientists, but to everyone concerned about the prospects of democracy.


Winner, 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title


'The mood in the democratic world these days is one of pessimism, but we are fortunate to have one of the grandmasters of comparative politics to help us understand the situation. Crises of Democracy is incisive, clear and full of insights into where we have been and where we might go.'

Tom Ginsburg - Leo Spitz Professor of Law, University of Chicago

'In this sober, highly illuminating look at the shaky state of democracy around the world, Adam Przeworski seeks to understand the causes of the explosion of populist, anti-establishment forces that have overtaken mature democracies in Europe and have resulted in the election of Donald Trump in the United States. Every page is chock full of insights. Przeworski, arguably the most brilliant comparativist of our time, carefully defines 'democracy crisis' and shows why many mature democracies are facing one now.'

Mitchell A. Seligson - Centennial Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

'In the age of Trump, Putin, and Brexit, ordinary people and pundits alike increasingly wonder whether democracy is in a crisis or even danger. The flood of explanations ranges from factors as different as the decline of traditional parties, rising economic inequality, and the emergence of social media - to name just a few. What is sorely lacking is a perspective that separates what is unique about the present moment from what is history just repeating itself. Adam Przeworski, the world’s leading authority on democracy and democratization, delivers precisely that - and he does so with an unparalleled historical perspective and the rigor of modern social science.'

Milan Svolik - Yale University, Connecticut

'The wealth of information and lucid narrative make Crises of Democracy an informative read.'

Michal Boncza Source: Morning Star

‘This is a book by a remarkable man about a topic of immense importance and great urgency which he has been studying from one angle or another for most of his adult life. Its conclusions are careful, tentative and disconcerting. It is neither partisan nor melodramatic, yet also resolutely undidactic an object lesson in how to think seriously about politics but leave your readers better equipped to go on doing so coherently for themselves.’

John Dunn Source: Society

‘… a major contribution to the comparative politics literature—and a must-read for political scientists and educated citizens concerned about the fate of democratic institutions in the contemporary era.’

Stephen E. Hanson Source: Perspectives on Politics

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