The drive for participatory democracy in nineteenth century Britain

Good, K 2009, 'The drive for participatory democracy in nineteenth century Britain', Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 231-247.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The drive for participatory democracy in nineteenth century Britain
Author(s) Good, K
Year 2009
Journal name Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
Volume number 47
Issue number 3
Start page 231
End page 247
Total pages 17
Publisher Routledge
Abstract In association with the industrial revolution, a wide range of new self-help organisations, from friendly societies and cooperatives to trade unions, were constructed by rising urban working classes and a lower middle class in nineteenth century Britain. The process was broad and deep, built upon a pre-existing culture of democracy, and extended through a vibrant autodidact workers' society. Against entrenched oligarchical power, the popular movement aimed not only at universal suffrage and governmental power, through the formation of a Labour Party, but also at clean government and a participatory democracy of self-determining groups and institutions. After a century of struggle the successes of the British working classes were intermixed with failure. Their efforts nonetheless represented an exemplar of democratisation based on a burgeoning civil society and strong trade union movement within advancing capitalist development, as witnessed again in South Africa through the 1980s and possibly beyond.
Subject Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Social Change
British History
DOI - identifier 10.1080/14662040903132526
ISSN 1466-2043
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