Power In Action - Steven Friedman (Paperback)

Democracy, citizenship and social justice

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Product Details

21 Jan 2019
Supply Source
South Africa


Steven Friedman
Paperback / softback
Wits University Press
Number of Pages
234 x 156 x 15mm (234g)


Argues that South Africans, like everyone else, need democracy for a more equal society
What are democracies meant to do? And how does one know when one is a democratic state? These incisive questions and more by leading political scientist, Steven Friedman, underlie this robust enquiry into what democracy means for South Africa post 1994. Democracy is often viewed through a lens reflecting Western understanding. New democracies are compared to idealized notions by which the system is said to operate in the global North. The democracies of Western Europe and North America are understood to be the finished product and all others are assessed by how far they have progressed towards approximating this model.
Power in Action persuasively argues against this stereotype. Friedman asserts that democracies can only work when every adult has an equal say in the public decisions that affect them.Democracy is achieved not by adopting idealized models derived from other societies–rather, it is the product of collective action by citizens who claim the right to be heard not only through public protest action, but also through the conscious exercise of influence on public and private power holders.
Viewing democracy in this way challenges us to develop a deeper understanding of democracy’s challenges and in so doing to ensure that more citizens can claim a say over more decisions in society.


General Subject
Politics/Intl Relations
BISAC Subject 1
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
BISAC Subject 4
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights
BISAC Subject 5
Political Science / Civics & Citizenship
BIC Classification 1
Civil rights & citizenship
BIC Classification 2
Social issues & processes
BIC Classification 3
African history
BIC Classification 4
Political structures: democracy
BIC Classification 5
Social issues & processes
Library Subject 1
Democracy - South Africa
Library Subject 2
Democracy - Cross-cultural studies
Library Subject 3
South Africa - Politics and government
Dewey Classification

Author Bio

Steven Friedman is Research Professor attached to the Department of Politics in the Humanities Faculty, University of Johannesburg. He is a political scientist who specialises in the study of democracy; a public commentator; newspaper columnist and a former trade unionist.