This article addresses a question that sits at the heart of democracy
studies today: What do we mean when we speak about a “crisis of
democracy”? The article opens with introductory clarifications on the meanings
of the concept of crisis—namely its root in medicine, and on three
contemporary perspectives of democracy—trilateral, deliberative, and crisis.
These perspectives are analyzed using monoarchic and diarchic distinctions.
Next, the article lists the main discourses about crisis in recent political theory
literature. In conclusion, the article proposes an answer to the question
of what we mean by crisis of democracy by arguing that it is not democracy
in general but one form of democracy in particular that is in crisis—a parliamentary
democracy based on the centrality of suffrage and political parties.