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Book Symposium: 'on The Side Of Angels'

Back in the days of Open University, we had an extended conversation about the paucity of book reviews (see broadly this page and this page of the archives). We sometimes talked about either using OU or broadly TNR for more online experimentation in book reviews. The theme resurfaced on The Plank last week.

Well, the OU experiment is gone, but online experiments in book commentary live on. At my blog, I'm hosting a symposium this week on Nancy Rosenblum's important new book, On the Side of Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship. Respondents include Patrick Deneen, Henry Farrell, Mara Marin, Andrew Rehfeld, Melissa Schwartzberg, Nadia Urbinati, and me.

Rosenblum's book is an attempt to put parties and partisanship into the center of our attention when thinking about democracy and democratic theory. In terms familiar to the this part of the blogosphere, it's a critique of both High Broderism and of our regular election-year elevation of the Undecided Independent into a kind of exalted status, though there's a lot more to it as well. While it's a work of political theory, it engages with political science and with real politics in an especially close way, and I think many Plank readers would be interested. The symposium begins with four posts by Rosenblum laying out some core themes of the book; reviews, responses, and rejoinders will be rolled out between now and Thursday; and comments are open.

--Jacob T. Levy