- Title Pages
- List of Figures
- List of Contributors
- 1 Questioning the Democratic, and Democratic Questioning
- 2 Against the ‘Democratic Turn’
- 3 The Divided Legacy of <i>Politikon</i>
- 4 A Democratic Turn in the Reception of the Roman–Dutch Law of Treason in South Africa?
- 5 Labour and the Classics
- 6 Appropriations of Cicero and Cato in the Making of American Civic Identity
- 7 Classics as a Weapon
- 8 Civilization and Savagery at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
- 9 The Expansion of Tragedy as Critique<sup>1</sup>
- 10 Investigating American Women’s Engagements with Graeco-Roman Antiquity, and Expanding the Circle of Classicists
- 11 The Democratic Turn in (and through) Pedagogy
- 12 Classics in West African Education
- 13 Back to the <i>Demos</i>
- 14 Can ‘Democratic’ Modern Stagings of Ancient Drama be ‘Authentic’?
- 15 Demotic Power to the People
- 16 Aristophanic Performance as an All-inclusive Event
- 17 Constructing Bridges for Peace and Tolerance
- 18 <i>The Silence of Eurydice</i>
- 19 Ovidian Metamorphoses in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt
- 20 Catullus and Lesbia Translated in Women’s Historical Novels
- 21 Female Voices
- 22 Heroes or Villains
- 23 Democracy and Popular Media
- 24 Practising Classical Reception Studies ‘in the Round’
- 25 In Search of Ancient Myths
- 26 Truth, Justice, and the Spartan Way
- 27 A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum
- 28 All Mod Cons? Power, Openness, and Text in the Digital Turn
Against the ‘Democratic Turn’
Against the ‘Democratic Turn’
Counter-texts; Counter-contexts; Counter-arguments
- (p.14) (p.15) 2 Against the ‘Democratic Turn’
- Classics in the Modern World
- Oxford University Press
This chapter aims to raise some awkward issues and to provoke debate by looking critically at some of the assumptions underlying claims that there has been a ‘democratic turn’. It starts by reviewing some of the main counter-arguments (drawing on contexts of transmission, interpretation and artistic production, and consumption). The discussion then focuses on some key texts from epic, drama historiography, examining their more problematic implications. It is suggested that claims about a ‘democratic turn’ may be largely aspirational, even masking complacency about liberal democracies and their institutions and thus deflecting attention from the potential of classical texts to function as intellectual gadflies; there are links here with issues of social class, free speech, and participation. The chapter concludes by suggesting how the conditions necessary for a ‘democratic turn’ as a paradigm might be met in ways that do justice both to the densities and ambivalences of the texts and to their potential to contribute to modern democratic debates.
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