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Political Science Democracy

Postures and Politics

Some observations on participatory democracy

by (author) Frank MacKinnon

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1973
Democracy, Political, Cultural
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1973
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Frank MacKinnon is an urbane observer of the human condition. He believes in participatory democracy, but does not think that it or any other system will work if it is put on an ideological pedestal -- or if its limitations are not discussed frankly, and then remedied effectively.
In the opening chapters he describes in general ways the positions and strategies adopted today by people with various kinds of powers. He then examines in considerable detail several of man's major institutions -- governments and professions, churches, universities, and cultural bodies. Some of his conclusions are:
- Man has become very theoretical
- Man tends to take dogmatic positions based on his theories, so that social action becomes a contest rather than a dialogue -- a relationship among theories and institutions often rendered unintelligible by jargon and unworkable by regulation, rather than a communication among men.
- Man fancies administration and devotes much energy to entangling himself in his own red tape, often with fatal results
- Man allows himself to waste his talents and the world's resources
- Man can obviously afford to do none of those things


The remedy which Professor MacKinnon proposes is the re-introduction into the affairs of man of colour and culture. These, he argues, are not only the most practical of political instruments, but the only consistently successful means of communication among men of all races throughout all time.

About the author

DR. FRANK MACKINNON is an eminent Canadian political scientist and educator. He has taught in both high school and university and has administered every level from grade one to the second year of university, including normal school. Dr. MacKinnon is now Principal of Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Frank MacKinnon's profile page

Other titles by Frank MacKinnon