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2,234 Descriptions of Democracy

An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism

Jean-Paul Gagnon

In 2010 Milja Kurki explained that although scholars recognize that democracy is described in a variety of ways, they do not typically engage with its many and diverse descriptions. My aim in this agenda-setting research note is to tackle this quandary by first providing a minimum empirical account of democracy’s descriptions (i.e., a catalogue of 2,234 adjectives that have been used to describe democracy) and secondly by suggesting what democracy studies may gain by compiling this information. I argue that the catalogue of descriptors be applied in four ways: (1) drilling down into the meaning of each description, (2) making taxonomies, (3) rethinking the phenomenology of democracy, and (4) visualizing democracy’s big data. Each of the four applications and their significance is explained in turn. This research note ends by looking back on the catalogue and its four applications.

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Wolfgang Merkel and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Gagnon: How do you define democracy? Merkel: In my definition I try to find a middle way between minimalist and maximalist definitions of democracy. Minimalism, as we know it, from Joseph Schumpeter (2013) , Anthony Downs (1957) , but also Adam

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Avery Poole

which references to “democracy” are employed. Characterization of regime types is facilitated by a considerable body of comparative theoretical work, which is of course contested. For example, definitions ofdemocracy” vary considerably. 2 Minimalist

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Dethroning Deliberation

A Response to Caspary

Jeff Jackson

(2017: 110). After providing a description of Dewey’s definition of democracy, Caspary remarks that “this definition … makes no place for direct action; it includes no mention of political struggle” (112). I find this to be a surprising claim, and I do

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Deliberative Democracy

Taking Stock and Looking Ahead - Selen A. Ercan with André Bächtiger

Selen A. Ercan and André Bächtiger

article “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: A New Approach,” Michael Coppedge and John Gerring (2011) suggested abandoning the search for the correct definition of democracy; rather, we should accept that there are different models of democracy

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Simon Tormey and Jean-Paul Gagnon

’re not dealing with something that has got a stable fixed signifier attached to it. What is of interest to me, therefore, is the evolution of the ways in which people are contesting the definition of democracy rather than me furnishing you with a

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Marie Paxton and Uğur Aytaç

less democratic. His definition of democracy is minimalistic: “widespread, substantive voter involvement in governance” (15). Drawing on extensive empirical evidence and discussing two case studies, the European Union and Singapore, Jones argues that

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Participatory Democracy in Unlikely Places

What Democratic Theorists Can Learn from Democratic Professionals

Selen A. Ercan’s and Albert W. Dzur

Ercan: How do you define democracy? Dzur: My working definition of democracy is collective power sharing over common problems. This captures the historical trajectory of democratization from systems that are centralized and ascriptive in who gets to

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The Limits of Liberal Democracy

Prospects for Democratizing Democracy

Viviana Asara

's chapter, entitled “The Dialectics of Democracy: Drawing and Transcending Boundaries in Welfare Capitalism,” combines a normative and critical approach to democracy. The definition of democracy given should act as a normative benchmark for evaluating

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Democratic Procedures Are Not Inherently Democratic

A Critical Analysis of John Keane's The New Despotism (Harvard University Press, 2020)

Gergana Dimova

. Competitive authoritarianism couples the procedural minimum of the definition of democracy with the condition of a “level playing field between the government and the opposition” ( Levitsky and Way 2010 : 36). Andreas Schedler (2002) compiled a comprehensive