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Does Democratic Theory Need Epistemic Standards?

Grounds for a Purely Procedural Defense of Majority Rule

Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti

possible to justify democratic procedures by relying exclusively on a set of “purely procedural” values ( Dahl 1998 ; Estlund 1997 ; Fabienne 2007 ; Habermas 1994 ; Rawls 1993 ; Shapiro 2003 ; Urbinati and Saffon 2013 ). For the purposes of this

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Dannica Fleuß and Gary S. Schaal

The article analyzes the (often implicit) understanding of democratic theory that is presupposed by scholars who engage in this practice and provides an answer to the question: “What are we doing when we are doing democratic theory?” We flesh out the core features of this scholarly activity by relating it to and differentiating it from assessments made from the perspective of political philosophy and political science. We argue that democratic theory aims at proposing institutional devices that are (a) problem-solving approaches and (b) embodiments of normative principles. This two-faced structure requires democratic theorists to engage in feedback loops with political philosophy on the one hand and empirical political science on the other. This implies that democratic theorists must adopt a dynamic approach: democratic theories must “fit” societal circumstances. In consequence, they must be adapted in case of fundamental societal transformations. We exemplify this dynamic character by referring to digitalization-induced changes in democratic societies and their implications for democratic theorists’ practice.

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The Deliberative Potential of Facultative Referendums

Procedure and Substance in Direct Democracy

Alice el-Wakil

introduced in the initial wave of deliberative democracy theory: as aggregative institutions, these mechanisms would all implement a purely procedural view of democracy incompatible with the deliberative democratic ideal. On the question of procedure and

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Simeon Mitropolitski

Modern political theory, while defining a democratic political regime, puts an emphasis on institutions and procedures. According to this view, whether a particular country is democratic or not depends on the ability of the opposition to oust the incumbent government without leaving the framework of existing institutions and procedures. Cultural values that sustain the democratic polity, including the spirit of political equality, are given much less attention. These values are assumed to be already present, either as a reflection of our similar physical constitution or as a reflection of the presence of democratic political regimes. This research challenges both the monopoly of the procedural understanding of democracy and the lack of particular interest regarding the construction of egalitarian political culture. I claim, first, that the rise of an egalitarian political culture contributes to the establishment of a democratic political regime and, second, that the establishment of modern schools in the late sixteenth century contributed to the construction of this egalitarian political culture.

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Mark Chou and Jean-Paul Gagnon

proceduralism. The second article by Robert Farneti explores the shift from fractionalization to polarization in democratic theory and the epistemic leap scholars make from the realm of facts to the realm of normative problems. His article thus engages with

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The Limits of Liberal Democracy

Prospects for Democratizing Democracy

Viviana Asara

. These nodal points, explained below, largely refer to formal democracy and the shrinking of the political, the democracy-rights nexus and the procedural conceptions of democracy, and the role of the environmental and reproductive spheres. Lessenich

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Nadia Urbinati

“formal” and “substantive” democracies are “inseparable from one another.” This is what makes democracy a government of crisis. If we agree with this political procedural approach, we must also agree with Koselleck that use of the word “crisis” risks

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Amit Ron

to examine how institutions shape the exchange of reasons. The process of deliberation has both procedural and epistemic dimensions. On the one hand, the outcome of a process of democratic deliberation is considered legitimate because it is the

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Louise Haagh

embedding in society. In this context, theories of democratic deepening, such as through formal extensions of procedural rights through bargaining processes ( O'Donnell 2001 ; Whitehead 2002 ; Haagh 2002 , 2012 ), also get us only part of the way. For

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COVID and the Era of Emergencies

What Type of Freedom is at Stake?

Danielle Celermajer and Dalia Nassar

other, the ethical and political imperative to retain appropriate deference to procedural safeguards and individual rights. Insofar as the imperative to respect the principles of liberal democracy is framed in terms of a zero sum competition between