Athenian Legacies: Essays on the Politics of Going on Together
How do communities survive catastrophe? Using classical Athens as its case study, this book argues that if a democratic community is to survive over time, its people must choose to go on together. That choice often entails hardship and hard bargains. In good times, going on together presents few difficulties. But in the face of loss, disruption, and civil war, it requires tragic sacrifices and agonizing compromises.
As Ober vividly demonstrates, Athenians became adept at collective survival. They conjoined a cultural commitment to government by the people with new institutions that captured the social and technical knowledge of a diverse population to recover from revolution, foreign occupation, and the ravages of war. Ober provides insight into notorious instances of Athenian injustice, explaining why slaves, women, and foreign residents willingly risked their lives to support a regime in which they were systematically mistreated. He answers the question of why Socrates never left a city he said was badly governed.
At a time when social scientists debate the cultural grounding necessary to foster democracy, Athenian Legacies advances new arguments about the role of diversity and the relevance of shared understanding of the past in creating democracies that flourish when the going gets rough.
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Introduction Climbing the Hill of Ares
Classical Athenian Democracy and Democracy Today
Historical Legacies Moral Authority and the Useable Past
Culture Thin Coherence and the Persistence of Politics
Quasi Rights Participatory Citizenship and Negative Liberties
The Athenian Debate over Civic Education
Living Freely as a Slave of the Law Why Socrates Lives in Athens