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Comparative Politics 1 POL1010 Lecture 3 21 st October 2004, 3-4pm What is Democracy?

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Presentation on theme: "Comparative Politics 1 POL1010 Lecture 3 21 st October 2004, 3-4pm What is Democracy?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparative Politics 1 POL1010 Lecture 3 21 st October 2004, 3-4pm What is Democracy?

2 Lecture Plan Types of political system Definitions of democracy Issues associated with democracy Models of democracy Strengths and weaknesses of these models Democracy in action: liberal democracy Interpretations of liberal democracy

3 Types of Political System Aristotle’s categories: Democracies Oligarchies Monarchies

4 Democracy as the enduring political principle In its origins Democracy seen as a necessary evil - Plato and Aristotle From Athens to 2004 Late 20th century - fall of ideologies Liberals, conservatives, socialists, communist, fascists - we are all democrats now

5 Definitions of Democracy ‘Democracy is the worst form of government except all the other forms which have been tried from time to time’ Source: Winston Churchill, 1947

6 Defining Democracy Ancient Greece - ‘demos’ - the people / ‘kratos’ - power ‘democracy is perhaps the most promiscuous word in the world of public affairs’ Source: Bernard Crick, 1993

7 Defining Democracy: Who are ‘the people’? Principle of political equality But who are the people? In practice what restrictions are placed on participation? –Greek city-states males, over 20 years –UK universal suffrage only from 1928 –USA 1960s until full democracy achieved –1971 in Switzerland when women finally given the vote –All examples of democracy excluded children from participation –In addition, other restrictions apply - e.g. imprisoned criminals

8 Defining Democracy: Government by the People Government by the people What will do ‘the people’ actually exert? –General will of the collective (Rousseau) –Majority will of most people (majoritarianism) –Private will of individuals

9 Government by the People: Forms of Participation I Direct / Participatory Continuous involvement of citizenry in decision-making –referenda, mass meetings, interactive devices –e.g. of system of popular self-government, Athenian city-state, Switzerland –Plebiscitary democracy as a sub-species

10 Government by the People: Forms of Participation II Representative Democracy Voting Periodically –Limited, indirect government –Delegation of power via electoral mandate –Competitive elections

11 Government by the People: Forms of Participation III Radical Democracy Goal of decentralised power and widened participation Socialists and Feminists More of an ideal than an actuality

12 Government by the People: Forms of Participation IV Totalitarian Democracy Absolute dictatorships still label themselves as democracies – e.g. Hitler’s Germany Ritualised form of democracy – focus is the leader as a the representative of the people

13 Government by the People to Government for the People Continuum by the people for the people radical direct representative totalitarian

14 Models of Democracy Democracy - one size does not fit all? Within the concept of ‘liberal democracy’ there are several different types of rule: Classical democracy Protective democracy Developmental democracy People’s democracy

15 Models of Democracy Classical democracy Polis of Greek city-state Athens, 4th-5th centuries BC Pure form of popular participation (though no women or slaves) –Assembly (Ecclesia) of citizens took all major decisions –Met at least 40 times a year Influenced later thinkers - Rousseau and Marx Criticised by Plato – The Republic –Role of rulers taken by ‘philosopher-kings’

16 Models of Democracy Protective democracy Rejection of participation Limited and indirect form of democracy Aristotle’s question to Plato: ‘quis custodiet custodies? Who will guard the guardians? 17 th C John Locke – natural and property rights 18 th C The Utilitarians: Jeremy Bentham and James Mill ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’ People give power – via consent through the act of voting

17 Models of Democracy Developmental democracy Jean-Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract (1792) Individual freedom comes via obedience to the ‘general will’ Participation Decentralisation John Stuart Mill – ‘educative function’ of democracy

18 Models of Democracy People’s democracy Marxist tradition Soviet political system –Lenin – power in the political system should be concentrated with the Communist Party – representing the workers as the masses –No check on the power of the CP

19 Democracy in Action: Common Features of Liberal Democracy Indirect and representative form of democracy – political office is gained through success in regular elections Importance of competition and choice – via political pluralism and having an open system Distinction is clear between state and society – autonomous groups and interests are allowed to exist free from state interference

20 Liberal Democracy in Action: Five Interpretations Pluralist View – LD guarantees responsiveness and accountability Elitist View – in LD tendency for political power to be concentrated in the hands of the few Corporatist View – role of groups (in particular TUs) in LD New Right View – in LD can be a danger of democratic overload Marxist View – relationship between LD and capitalism

21 Bibliography Crick, B. (1993) In Defence of Politics Penguin. Marquand, D. (1988) The Unprincipled Society London: Cape. Rousseau, J-J. [1762] (1913)The Social Contract London: Dent. Mill, J.S. [1859] (1982) On Liberty Penguin. Bentham, J. [1776] (1948) Fragments on Government and an Introduction to the Principles of Law Oxford: Blackwell. Locke, J. [1690] (1965) Two Treatise on Government New York, NY: New American Library. Aristotle Politics Penguin. Plato The Republic Penguin. Lenin, V. [1902] (1968) What is to be Done? Penguin.

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