ATHENS, DIRECT DEMOCRACY, AND
STAGES 3 & 4
In thinking about material in Chapter 3 of DPD, I began to wonder about the nature of direct democracy
as developed in Athens. My image of a Stage 3 society is of a small village, where conflicts can be
worked out face-to-face (as in Athenian democracy) on the basis of immediate, personal relationships.
But Athenian democracy feels like a Stage 4 society to me, as I say in the text.(1) So I would be curious
to know exactly how (if at all, of course) Athens moved from the relatively informal processes of a
small village to the formal processes of direct democracy. How did this new system come about in the
first place? How, specifically, did it differ from what went before?
1. Among other things, the deliberation with which Socrates was killed has a Stage 4 flavor to it, a
concern with the preservation of the social system.
Page URL: http://www.d.umn.edu/~schilton/Articles/Athens.html
Page Author: Stephen Chilton
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Last Modified: November 27, 1999
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