Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation

By Terri Lynn Cornwell | Go to book overview

mitted its culture. The arts helped the Greeks -- according to Parsons' theory (see Chapter 3) -- transmit, learn, and share their culture.

Using the background set forth in this chapter, how would our theory of participation apply? Because the Greek political unit was small, direct participation by male citizens was at a relatively high level ( Pateman would obviously have liked the franchise extended to women), but, as noted, this high level of participation often created instability. Clearly, the kind of participation reinforced by Greek society heightened the tendency toward instability rather than tempering it. Greek democracy relied on majority rule, and, although discussion was encouraged, individual choices and decisions were always of lesser importance than the collective decisions of the state. With no recognition of minority needs, collective decisions were not always easy for all citizens to accept.

This system of participation paralleled the kind of participation reinforced by the Greek arts festivals. Although mass audience participation was encouraged, it was the kind of participation that submerged individual choices and decisions to the appropriate collective emotions of the state.

Clearly, the theory of arts participation did apply to Greek society: participation in the "other sphere," the arts, helped to reinforce the psychological and political skills necessary for participation in government. Ironically, this brand of mass, passive participation, could eventually breed instability and the ultimate breakdown of the system.


Notes
1
Dahl, After the Revolution?, p. 5.
2
Robert A. Dahl and Edward R. Tufte, Size and Democracy ( Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1973), p. 4.
3
In Size and Democracy, Dahl and Tufte analyzed studies of participation in democracies of varying sizes and found that citizens in smaller democracies do not necessarily feel more effective and that no relationship exists between size of unit and voter turnout (p. 44). (See Chapter 9.)
4
J. A. Sinclair, Introduction, Aristotle's The Politics, J. A. Sinclair, trans. ( Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1970), p. 16.
5
Aristotle, The Politics, p. 46.
8
Straight, Twigs for an Eagle's Nest, pp. 50-51.

-89-

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Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Democracy and the Arts: An American Perspective 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - Democratic Theory: General Considerations 11
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Participation in the Arts: A Historical Perspective 31
  • Notes 45
  • 4 - Participatory Democracy and the Arts 49
  • Notes 76
  • 5 - Democracy and the Arts in Ancient Greece 83
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - Nineteenth-Century American Democracy and the Arts 93
  • Notes 103
  • 7 - Twentieth-Century American Democracy 107
  • Notes 119
  • 8 - Participation in the Arts: Mid-Twentieth Century America 123
  • Notes 158
  • 9 - The Role of Participation: Implications and Recommendations 165
  • Notes 185
  • Appendices 189
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
  • About the Author *
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