Is Democracy Possible?

The Alternative to Electoral Democracy

John Burnheim

Regular price $35.00 Sale

Format: paperback
164 pages
ISBN: 9781920898427
Publication: 01 Sep 2006

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Read online: Open access

In Is Democracy Possible? John Burnheim presents bold and original proposals for the working of a new democracy. In particular he provides a radical reinterpretation of the concept and mechanics of representation and a structure that is designed to avoid concentrations of power and powertrading at any level. Among other points, he argues that we must abandon mass voting in favour of statistical representation.

For the second edition of this important work, Burnheim reflects upon the impact of the book and upon his current thoughts on the primary issues he raised when it was first published in 1985. Despite a generation of dramatic historical change and intense theoretical interest in issues of global democratisation since then, the problems raised remain unsolved. Is Democracy Possible? remains a distinctive and provocative discussion of the possibilities for the democratic reorganisation of modern society.

‘Is Democracy Possible? should ... be widely read. It is a clear and freshly written statement of an unconventional and provocative thesis which will stimulate the jaded and annoy the complacent.’
Vernon Bogdabor, Times Literary Supplement

John Burnheim is a former professor of philosophy.

New preface 2006


  1. Democracy and the state
  2. Democracy and bureaucracy
  3. Democracy and representation
  4. Democracy and markets
  5. Is demarchy possible?


'What makes Burnheim's book original and fascinating though, is the fact that his particular utopia is the extreme opposite of all others that we are familiar with.'
Agnes Heller   Thesis Eleven

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 mm
164 pages
Copyright: © 2006
ISBN: 9781920898427
Publication: 01 Sep 2006