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David Plotke

What if anything should democratic polities do with respect to political forces and citizens who oppose democratic practices? One strategy is toleration, understood as non-interference. A second approach is repression, aimed at marginalizing or breaking up non-democratic political forces. I argue for a third approach: democratic states and citizens should respond to non-democratic political forces and ideas mainly through efforts at political incorporation. This strategy can protect democratic practices while respecting citizens' rights; its prospects are enhanced by the diverse political composition of most contemporary anti-democratic projects and the integrative effects of democratic procedures.

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Daryl Glaser

The South African university system has experienced intense student-led protests since early 2015. One of the stakes in the conflict is democratic legitimacy. The legitimacy conflicts roiling universities are, to be sure, not mainly about

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Beyond 'Democratic Consolidation'

An Alternative Understanding of Democratic Progress

Steven Friedman

For almost two decades, the survival prospects and authenticity of new democracies has been assessed through the democratic consolidation paradigm which seeks to assess whether democracies are 'consolidated'. But an examination of the paradigm shows that it is vague, teleological and ethnocentric and measures new democracies against an idealised understanding of Northern liberal democracies rather than offering a plausible means of assessing longevity or democratic progress. Its inadequacy is further demonstrated by applying it to the South African case. The article thus argues for a new approach which rejects the consolidation paradigm's assumption that some democracies (those of the North) are a 'finished product' and acknowledges both that all democracies are incomplete and that each will show uneven progress, so that older democracies will lag behind newer ones in some areas of democratic quality while surpassing them in others.

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Maurizio Passerin d'Entrèves

This article examines the question of justice in democratic constitutional states from the standpoint of a theory of deliberative democracy. Its aim is to show that the validity of a conception of justice and the legitimacy of political institutions and public policies based upon it can best be defended on the basis of a normative theory of deliberative democracy. This theory, I shall argue, is superior to the two main normative models of justification that appeal to the ideal of neutrality (Rawls, Larmore, Nagel) or to the ideal of perfectionism (Raz, Galston).

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Christina Nick

This paper considers three arguments by David Shugarman and Maureen Ramsay for why dirty hands cannot be democratic. The first argues that it is contradictory, in principle, to use undemocratic means to pursue democratic ends. There is a conceptual connection between means and ends such that getting one’s hands dirty is incompatible with acting in accordance with democratic ends. The second claims that using dirty-handed means, in practice, will undermine democracy more than it promotes it and therefore cannot be justified. The final criticism states that politicians with dirty hands are a sign that politics is no longer meeting the criteria necessary to be called democratic. The paper shows that such rejections of democratic dirty hands are based on misunderstandings of the nature of dirty hands and democratic politics.

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Chantal Mouffe

My aim in this presentation is to offer some reflections concerning the kind of public sphere that a vibrant democratic society requires. I want to scrutinize the dominant discourse which announces the “end of the adversarial model of politics” and the need to go beyond left and right towards a consensual politics of the centre. The thesis that I want to put forward is that, contrary to what its defenders argue, this type of discourse has very negative consequences for democratic politics. Indeed it has contributed to the weakening of the “democratic political public sphere”, and it has led to the increasing dominance of juridical and moral discourse, dominance which I take to be inimical to democracy. I submit that the increasing moralization and juridification of politics, far from being seen as progress, a further step in the development of democracy, should be envisaged as a threat for its future.

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Maria Ferretti and Enzo Rossi

Agonist theorists have argued against deliberative democrats that democratic institutions should not seek to establish a rational consensus, but rather allow political disagreements to be expressed in an adversarial form. But democratic agonism is not antagonism: some restriction of the plurality of admissible expressions is not incompatible with a legitimate public sphere. However, is it generally possible to grant this distinction between antagonism and agonism without accepting normative standards in public discourse that saliently resemble those advocated by (some) deliberative democrats? In this paper we provide an analysis of one important aspect of political communication, the use of slippery-slope arguments, and show that the fact of pluralism weakens the agonists' case for contestation as a sufficient ingredient for appropriately democratic public discourse. We illustrate that contention by identifying two specific kinds of what we call pluralism slippery slopes, that is, mechanisms whereby pluralism reinforces the efficacy of slippery-slope arguments.

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Hans Mommsen

The role of Konrad Adenauer in the proceedings of the Parliamentary Council in Bonn and his decision after his election as first federal chancellor not to form a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party paved the way to a fundamental transformation of the traditional German democratic paradigm versus the Anglo-Saxon concept of interaction between government and parliamentary opposition. The inherited pattern of constitutional democracy that had contributed to the structural weaknesses of Weimar parliamentarism was replaced by the concept of an interaction between government and opposition. Political parties took on the primary tasks of securing stable parliamentary majorities and providing sufficient electoral support for the chancellor. Adenauer's resolved political leadership, therefore, was an indispensable contribution to the reorientation of West German political culture from the former distrust of unrestricted parliamentary sovereignty toward Western democratic traditions.

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Pamela Fisher

In December 1989, the ruling communist party of East Germany,

the Socialist Unity Party (SED), was reconstituted when it adopted the

name Socialist Unity Party-Party of Democratic Socialism (SED-PDS),

which was simplified on 4 February 1990 to the Party of Democratic

Socialism.1 The brand of Marxism-Leninism that had prevailed in the

German Democratic Republic (GDR) appeared to be irredeemably

discredited, and the new leadership of this successor party was

obliged to create an alternative vision of socialism and to redefine

their political goals. The PDS program of 1990,2 with its clear adoption

of a feminist agenda, constituted a breach with the party’s political

past. Whereas the Marxist-Leninist theory underpinning SED

policy had been based on the principle that inequality is economically

determined, the new PDS program acknowledged patriarchy

as a separate issue.

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Udo Zolleis

This article deals with the political, programmatic, and organizational changes within the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during the time of the second grand coalition (2005-present). For the CDU, the period of the grand coalition is a time of waiting concerning its organizational and programmatic reform processes. Thus, the election of 2009 will be crucial for the political development of the party—in respect to its political profile, as well as its strategic options within the political market.