Prof. Donald Reid publishes new book “Social Progress and the Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy”

Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Social Progress and the Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy by Donald G. Reid and published by Routledge, examines the authoritarian challenge to present-day democracy through a framing of social progress theory and the idea of the social contract. Building on the author’s previous work, it discusses whether social progress is linear and on a continual upward trajectory to human betterment, or if there are peaks and troughs along the way. At the outset the book introduces the concepts of social contract theory and the idea of human social progress, long considered to be settled conditions, now ripe for further examination. Each chapter carefully analyses the contemporary struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, using examples from the USA as a foundation to discuss and compare democracies from around the world encountering the pressures of rising authoritarianism, including anti-immigration, xenophobia and anti- institutionalism. Highlighting and analysing topics of critical importance to today’s society, this book will have widespread appeal to academics, researchers and postgraduate students throughout the social sciences including sociology, political science, philosophy, environmental sustainability and development studies.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Basis of Human Culture
Chapter 2. The Social Contract: The Beginning of Civilization?
Chapter 3. Social Progress and Change Throughout Human History
Chapter 4. The Upward Trajectory of Social Progress 
Chapter 5. The Ideological Struggle
Chapter 6. Achieving Meaning in Life
Chapter 7. Restructuring Democracy

Professor Donald G. Reid, is a University Professor Emeritus faculty member in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph.

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