Title: Rethinking Athenian Democracy
Committee: Richard Tuck (Harvard Government department; chair), Jane Mansbridge (Harvard Kennedy School), Bryan Garsten (Yale Politics department).
Overview: Conventional accounts of classical Athenian democracy focus on the assembly as the central democratic institution, and emphasise the ideological and practical significance of collective wisdom, mass deliberation, and the participation of the entire citizen body in political decision-making. My research casts doubt on some of the fundamental underpinnings of this view, and points towards a new conception of Athenian democracy as "dikastic democracy," in which the control of the courts by relatively small samples of ordinary citizens played the most critical role. If right, this has significant implications for our understanding of the idea and practice of democracy both in the ancient world and today.
Introduction: Reasons to Rethink Athenian Democracy
Chapter 1. Aristotle on the Virtue of the Multitude
Chapter 2. Deliberation in Classical Athens: Not Talking, But Thinking (and Voting)
Chapter 3. The Most Democratic Branch? The Assembly vs. the Courts
Chapter 4. Plato and the Construction of Justice
Conclusion: Democracy Ancient and Modern
Individual chapters are available as articles on SSRN.
The full dissertation is available below.