The first sustained feminist interpretation of Tocqueville’s classic, Democracy in America.
Finalist for the 2004 C. B. Macpherson Prize presented by the Canadian Political Science Association
Winner of the Best First Book Award presented by the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association
Tocqueville's Democracy in America continues to be widely read, but for all this familiarity, the vivid imagery with which he conveys his ideas has been overlooked, left to act with unexamined force upon readers' imaginations. In this first sustained feminist reading of Democracy in America Laura Janara assesses the dramatic feminine, masculine, and infantile metaphorical figures that represent the historical political drama that is Tocqueville's primary topic. These tropes are analyzed as both historical artifacts and symbols for psychoanalytic interpretation, deepening and complicating the standing interpretations of Tocqueville's work. Democracy Growing Up comments critically upon the peculiar gendered and familial foundations of modern Western democracy and upon the notion of democratic maturity that Tocqueville offers us.
Laura Janara is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.
"Janara … provides us with a key to Tocqueville's subconscious thoughts based on his language, which is rich in the imagery of familial and gender relationships. She does this in a nuanced, original and convincing way. " — Perspectives on Politics
"Democracy Growing Up consistently illuminates the hitherto undiscussed gender structure and entailments of Tocqueville's commentaries and has lots of surprising things to say on other specific aspects of his thought. It is a provocative and substantial contribution to the literature on Tocqueville. " — Mark T. Reinhardt, Williams College