JOSIAH OBER

JOSIAH OBER

Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University

Josiah Ober is Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Classics and a courtesy appointment in the Department of Philosophy. He specializes in ancient and modern political theory and historical institutionalism. His most recent book, Demopolis: Democracy before Liberalism in Theory and Practice, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Professor Ober's ongoing work focuses on the theory and practice of democracy, and the politics of knowledge and innovation. Recent articles and working papers seek to explain economic growth in the ancient Greek world, the relationship between democracy and dignity, and the aggregation of expertise.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

    Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

    “What did democracy mean before liberalism? What are the consequences for our lives today? Combining history with political theory, this book restores the core meaning of democracy as collective and limited self-government by citizens. That, rather than majority tyranny, is what democracy meant in ancient Athens, before liberalism. Participatory self-government is the basis of political practice in 'Demopolis', a hypothetical modern state powerfully imagined by award-winning historian and political scientist Josiah Ober. Demopolis' residents aim to establish a secure, prosperous, and non-tyrannical community, where citizens govern as a collective, both directly and through representatives, and willingly assume the costs of self-government because doing so benefits them, both as a group and individually. Basic democracy, as exemplified in real Athens and imagined Demopolis, can provide a stable foundation for a liberal state. It also offers a possible way forward for religious societies seeking a realistic alternative to autocracy.”

EVENTS

  • What Good is Democracy?

    What Good is Democracy?

    October 3, 2017

    The Gold Lounge, Stanford Faculty Club

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