Paper Prompts: Problems of Democracy, POT 4311

These papers are supposed to be analytic papers and NOT opinion pieces or book reviews. You are not simply to summarize readings or give your opinion about the readings but rather to provide an argument and take a position. The student should be sure to provide a clear, concise, and coherent argument for the position they take and not engage in demagoguery or political activist grandstanding. The reader will not care about the student’s political views or which positions s/he takes, but rather how well that position is argued. Finally, all papers should cite properly. APA or Chicago style is usually appropriate for the humanities and social sciences but any recognized style will do.

Term Paper Prompt:

Consider the state of American democracy. Is the U.S. a democracy?

In your essays consider whether “Washington’s” supposed disconnect from the rest of the country symbolizes something more than an alienation bred by distance. Does it, instead, reflect a crisis of democracy? Critically consider the interplay of concentrations of corporate power and our liberal legal framework. Moreover, critically assess how liberalism, with its emphasis on rights-based individualism, might undermine community and democracy. Also, consider whether democracy is just a political process. Given we spend most of our waking hours working, can there be any viable kind of democracy without some version of workplace (or economic) democracy? Be sure to explain the intersections of economic and political democracy (in other words, whether one is important to the other) and their relation to the state of U.S. democracy.

In your answer, be sure to refer to the readings we reviewed in class. Refer especially to Wolff
Necessary Illusions
Noam Chomsky
Publisher, Edition, Year
ISBN-13: 9780896083660
Democracy at Work
Richard D. Wolff
Publisher, Edition, Year
ISBN-13: 9781608462476

John Nichols
Publisher, Edition, Year
ISBN-13: 9781568589534
and Wolin.
Democracy Incorporated
Sheldon Wolin
Publisher, Edition, Year
ISBN-13: 9780691145891

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