The books by Gerry Stoker and Colin Hay are a welcome contribution to a necessary debate on the future of politics and democracy. Their aim is to engage both an academic and a general audience and in that they broadly succeed, although Stoker's book is probably more accessible to the latter and less interesting to the former. In essence, they address three related questions: What is politics and why does it matter?; Why are a growing number of people disaffected from politics, or, in Hay's stronger terms, why do they hate politics?; What is to be done to revive politics? Here, I address each of these issues in turn, looking critically at the answers which Stoker and Hay give, but also addressing Bang's contribution to this round table, which, it seems to me, is particularly interesting as it offers a broader perspective on the transformation of politics in what has been termed late modernity.
What is Politics and Why Does it Matter?
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