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What Democracy is... and is not n Ideas of Phillippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl.

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Presentation on theme: "What Democracy is... and is not n Ideas of Phillippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Democracy is... and is not n Ideas of Phillippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl

2 A general definition n Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives

3 A system of governance n A regime or system of governance is an ensemble of patterns that (1) determine how people gain access to public office, (2) the characteristics of people who are allowed to gain this access, and the strategies they may employ, and (3) the rules that are followed in making publicly binding decisions.

4 To work, the ensemble must... n Be institutionalized, or habitually known, practiced, and accepted by most or all of the actors. n A constitution is not necessary, but it often helps codify the institutional arrangements once the ensemble of patterned behavior is accepted as an institutionalized fact.

5 The public realm... n This is the making of collective norms and choices that are binding on the society and backed by state coercion. n In the liberal view, this public realm should be minimalized. In a more socialist perspective, the public realm is larger and extends via governmental intervention.

6 Citizens n All regimes have rulers and a public realm, but only to the extent that they are democratic do they have citizens. n Modern formal criteria for participating citizenship are fairly standard... all native born adults. n Informal criteria vary.

7 Competition n Originally, democracy was built on the idea of dialogue leading to consensus. n This is obsolete. Now competition among factions is considered an essential ingredient of a successful democratic process. n This modifies Madison’s ideas in Federalist Paper #10.

8 Elections n The existence of elections does not guarantee democracy n Merely holding elections does not guarantee political action into peaceful contests among elites and give public legitimacy to winners. n But democracies MUST have elections.

9 Democratic participation n Elections must happen intermittently, and voters choose between highly aggregated alternatives offered by political parties. n Between elections, citizens may influence public policy through various intermediaries, such as interest associations, social movements, locality groupings, etc.

10 Competitive variety n Modern democracy offers a variety of competitive processes and channels for the expression of interests and values — associational as well as partisan, functional as well as territorial, collective as well as individual.

11 Majority Rule n Democracy does not require majority rule. n But all democracies must have some means of aggregating the equal preferences of individuals. n The problem with majority rule arises when factional sizes conflict with intensities of feelings.

12 Numbers meet intensities n When a factional minority feels very strongly and negatively about a decision that is adopted by a majority, successful democracies tend to modify majority rule to include the protection of minority rights. n The protection of minorities can assume a variety of forms.

13 Protecting Minorities n Bill of rights n Requirement of concurrent majorities n Local autonomy n Grand coalitions n Negotiating social pacts

14 Cooperation n This is an essential feature of all democracies. n Actors must voluntarily make collective decisions binding on the polity as a whole. n Actors must cooperation in order to compete.

15 Representatives n Modern democracies require representation due to large population sizes. n Representatives tend to be professional politicians. n Democracies need professional politicians. n The question is how these politicians are chosen and held accountable for their actions.

16 Robert Dahl’s procedural minimal conditions for a polyarchy n Control over governmental decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in elected officials. n Elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon.

17 Dahl, #2 n Practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials. n Practically all adults have the right to run for elective offices in the government. n Citizens have a right to express themselves without the danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined.

18 Dahl #3 n Citizens have a right to seek out alternative sources of information. Moreover, alternative sources of information exist and are protected by law. n Citizens also have the right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups.

19 Schmitter and Karl additions to Dahl’s list n Popularly elected officials must be able to exercise their constitutional powers without being subjected to overriding informal opposition from unelected officials. n The polity must be self- governing. It must be able to act independently of constraints imposed by another overarching political system.

20 How democracies differ n Consensus n Participation n Access n Responsiveness n Majority rule n Parliamentary sovereignty n Party government n Pluralism

21 Democratic structural differences n Federalism n Presidentialism n Checks and balances

22 Democracies are not... n Economically more efficient than nondemocracies n Administratively more efficient than nondemocracies n More orderly, consensual, stable, or governable than nondemocracies n Economically open as a necessity

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