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This book is a highly original and provocative contribution to democratic theory. Zolo argues that the increasing complexity of modern societies represents a fundamental challenge to the basic assumptions of the Western democratic tradition and calls for a reformulation of some of the key questions of political theory. Zolo maintains that, as modern societies become more complex and more involved in the "information revolution," they are subjected to new and unprecedented forms of stress- as manifested, for instance, in the growing autonomy and power of political parties, and in new kinds of political communication which create the fiction of consensus. These stresses have become so serious that they threaten to undermine some of the values traditionally associated with democracy, such as the rationality and autonomy of the individual, and the visibility and accountability of power.In conclusion, Zolo develops a set of proposals which seek to renew democratic values and to contribute to a fundamental reform of Western political systems.