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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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Nadia Urbinati

Abstract

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.

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Paula Kabalo

address some form of distress gave individuals a tool for coping with the weaknesses that typified Israeli democracy at its inception. The objectives of the study are derived from, and are based on, the branch of democracy studies that I shall call, à la

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Innovations in Israel’s Civics Textbooks

Enlightening Trends in Non-Western Democracies

Sigal Ben-Rafael Galanti, Paz Carmel, and Alon Levkowitz

public spheres while recognizing the right to preserve one's local (and sometimes illiberal) traditions in private spheres. Furthermore, while some Indian states teach civics as democracy studies, others highlight dignity and hard work, and still others