Democracy: Clarifying the Muddle: A Conversation with John Dunn

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Political Science

This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and renowned political theorist John Dunn, University of Cambridge. Through an engaging dialogue format, John Dunn candidly shares his deep insights on the historical development and current significance and future of democracy in different parts of the world and the relevance of political science departments in achieving democracy and other worthwhile goals. 

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Democratic Daze, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Illusions and Confusions - Unmasking American stereotypes

II. Historical Examinations - The power of etymology

III. Thinking Deeper - Minimizing political bads

IV. Trust and Belief - Thinking critically

V. China - Challenging Western ideals?

VI. India - The world’s largest democracy

VII. Power to the People - Overthrowing autocracy and what happens next

VIII. Towards Progress - Why we should care about all of this

IX. Professional Indulgence - Critically examining “political science”

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a relaxed and informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website (


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A Note on the Text
The Conversation
Illusions and Confusions
Historical Examinations
Thinking Deeper
Trust and Belief
Power to the People
Towards Progress
Professional Indulgence

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 

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