"Beast and Gods is a timely and provocative look behind the cliches of western politics. It recognises that government of the people, by the people, is not what our current democracies feel like to most of their citizens. Fuller returns to the roots of democracy in classical republican practice and rediscovers the sources of the renewal that is urgently required. Her optimism makes this not just a challenging book but a heartening one."
"There is no doubting the timeliness of Fuller's contribution to the ongoing debates over the future of democratic government."--European Legacy
"Beasts and Gods provides a fascinating contrast between democracy in theory and democracy in practice. It deconstructs the assumptions underlying representative democracy, and debunks the fiction that modern elections are "free and fair." This provocative book draws on lessons from ancient Greece, while advocating direct democracy by decoupling economics from politics."
--Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
"Every now and then modern society throws up someone who questions its most cherished myths. The how and why of it deserves a book in its own right. Fuller is one such, and in this work she takes on a holy cow, democracy, that the West loves to believe it invented (like all good things). She is a young scholar, but gifted with the right intuition, attitude, and talent to take it on, full frontal, from A to Z . As such the book is a refreshing and highly timely, tour de force, putting both conventional apologetics and hoary critiques to shame. It dares us to rethink the myth, and perhaps even to, finally, infuse some real content to it - before we are all entrapped in an irreversible oligarchy."--Rajani Kanth, Harvard University
Democracy does not deliver on the things we have assumed are its natural outcomes. This, coupled with a growing sense of malaise in both new and established democracies forms the basis to the assertion made by some, that these are not democracies at all.
Through considerable, impressive empirical analysis of a variety of voting methods, across twenty different nations, Roslyn Fuller presents the data that makes this contention indisputable. Proving that the party which forms the government rarely receives the majority of the popular vote, that electoral systems regularly produce manufactured majorities and that the better funded side invariably wins such contests in both elections and referenda, Fuller’s findings challenge the most fundamental elements of both national politics and broader society.
Beast and Gods argues for a return to democracy as perceived by the ancient Athenians. Boldly arguing for the necessity of the Aristotelian assumption that citizens are agents whose wishes and aims can be attained through participation in politics, and through an examination of what “goods” are provided by democracy, Fuller offers a powerful challenge to the contemporary liberal view that there are no "goods" in politics, only individual citizens seeking to fulfil their particular interests.