democracy

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    The participation gap: Is citizen participation actually good for democracy?

The participation gap: Is citizen participation actually good for democracy?

The more people who participate in a democracy, the more democratic it becomes – or so de Tocqueville believed. But sceptics have challenged that assumption on the basis that not everyone has the skills to make informed political decisions. In his new book, Russell J Dalton argues that the problem lies with the participation gap: the better-off are more engaged […]

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Five views: Is populism really a threat to democracy?

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the rise of anti-establishment parties across Europe have prompted discussions over the role of ‘populism’ in modern politics. But is populism really a threat to democracy or is the term simply used by mainstream politicians to dismiss the legitimate concerns of citizens? […]

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    Book Review: On Extremism and Democracy in Europe by Cas Mudde

Book Review: On Extremism and Democracy in Europe by Cas Mudde

In On Extremism and Democracy in Europe, Cas Mudde presents a number of essays reflecting on the far right, populism, Euroscepticism and the state of liberal democracy today. Challenging prevailing fears, particularly those promoted in the mainstream media, this book offers a reliable and approachable analysis of contemporary European politics that will be of use to those trying to […]

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    The curious case of Liechtenstein: A country caught between a prince and democracy

The curious case of Liechtenstein: A country caught between a prince and democracy

The Principality of Liechtenstein will hold elections on 5 February. Ahead of the elections, Wouter Veenendaal assesses the country’s political system, under which the Prince of Liechtenstein still retains a large degree of power over decision-making. He states that the system raises complex questions over whether a country can be classified as a democracy if its citizens voluntarily choose […]

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    Putin’s approach to the West should encourage us to reflect on the nature of our own democracy

Putin’s approach to the West should encourage us to reflect on the nature of our own democracy

The United States expelled 35 Russian diplomats at the end of December over claims that Russia had interfered in the US election. But is Russia’s strategy in the West really having a tangible impact on political outcomes and, if so, how should the West respond? Linda Risso writes that the West’s apparent weakness to Russian influence stems from a […]

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    Without liberalism, democracy is dreadful. Fortunately we have both

Without liberalism, democracy is dreadful. Fortunately we have both

It is quite all right to hate democracy. T. F. Rhoden dislikes democracy immensely. Without classical liberalism, he argues, it is normal to mistrust democracy in its purer form. Democracy is dreadful without the classifier “liberal” in front – because liberalism is a safeguard against democracy’s inherent decadence of rule by the people. 

Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump’s election and Brexit, we might […]

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    Author Interview with Brian Klaas: How Can We Fix Democracy?

Author Interview with Brian Klaas: How Can We Fix Democracy?

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s saw democracy surge as former Soviet autocracies transitioned to democratic systems and democracy spread in Africa and Latin America. But the past decade has seen a reverse in this trend, with authoritarianism and dictatorships making a comeback around the world. In this interview with Peter Carrol on his new book, The Despot’s Accomplice: […]

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Is the world turning against democracy?

Democracy is in decline – or so a growing consensus suggests. Paul Schuler sets out the evidence for claims that people are turning to autocratic alternatives, and asks whether they necessarily show a loss of faith in democracy. He proposes some alternative measures that could establish whether people are genuinely willing to trade freedom for a ‘solution’ to anxieties about immigration, […]

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    Why political disagreements over how the world works may be easier to solve than those over goals

Why political disagreements over how the world works may be easier to solve than those over goals

Politics is all about disagreement: disagreement over what governments should be trying to achieve, but also about how the world works and how that affects the pursuit of shared goals. But what makes disagreements over beliefs different from disagreements over goals? In a new study drawing on evidence from the United States, Alexander V. Hirsch writes that beliefs may […]

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Should economics be democratised?

When it comes to managing an economy should policymakers act on the basis of technical expertise or in accordance with the views of voters? Simon Wren-Lewis writes that economists need to act more as a collective, and do a much better job of articulating consensus viewpoints to the public when it comes to important questions of economic policy.

In the […]

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    Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Reforms affecting the independence of courts and the media in Hungary and Poland have received significant attention in recent months. But to what extent do these developments constitute a genuine shift in the nature of Hungarian and Polish politics? Jan Rovny writes that while both countries have witnessed a rise in support for parties with anti-democratic tendencies, the dynamics […]

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    Yanis Varoufakis’ new DiEM25 movement should be welcomed by progressive pro-Europeans

Yanis Varoufakis’ new DiEM25 movement should be welcomed by progressive pro-Europeans

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has launched a new pan-European initiative, the ‘Democracy in Europe Movement 2025’ (DiEM25), which brings together parties and grassroots organisations across the continent with the aim of ‘democratising Europe’. Sophie Heine argues that the new initiative should be viewed as a positive development by progressive pro-Europeans who would like to see a more democratic […]

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    Book Review: Global Democratic Theory: A Critical Introduction

Book Review: Global Democratic Theory: A Critical Introduction

Global Democratic Theory analyses a number of theories related to democracy at different levels of government. Issues of representation of different civil society groups and government accountability are among the main themes. Mehmet Kerem Coban recommends the book “for all readers because we are all affected by ‘democratic deficits’ at various levels of the policy-making process.”

Global Democratic Theory : A Critical […]

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January 24th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Turkish elections: Why Turkey’s opposition should remain hopeful despite Erdoğan’s victory

Turkish elections: Why Turkey’s opposition should remain hopeful despite Erdoğan’s victory

Turkey held a parliamentary election on 1 November, with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan winning back the absolute majority of seats in parliament that it had lost in elections earlier this year. Firat Cengiz writes that while the results appear a substantial blow for the Turkish opposition, there remain reasons for […]

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    Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Democracy promotion is an integral component of EU foreign policy, however the EU has not always been successful in its efforts to foster democracy in external countries. Sonja Grimm offers several explanations for these failures, including the absence of a consensus among democracy promoters about policy objectives, and the interference of hidden agendas.

Democracy promotion was and still is an […]

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    Exploring the medieval roots of democracy and state building in Europe

Exploring the medieval roots of democracy and state building in Europe

Contemporary democracy is often thought to have its roots in ancient Greece. However as Jørgen Møller writes, many of the key aspects of modern representative democracy can be traced to the medieval period. He argues that while genuine democratisation was a feature of the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe, this transition took place against the backdrop of medieval […]

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    Rather than abandoning integration, the Greek crisis should be the impetus for improving European democracy

Rather than abandoning integration, the Greek crisis should be the impetus for improving European democracy

Does the Greek crisis prove the limitations of European integration? Cristina Ares Castro-Conde writes that the real question facing Europe is not whether integration should be rolled back, but how European democracy can be improved. She suggests that a first step could be to create a parallel European Parliament composed of MEPs from Eurozone states which has the power […]

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    Peaceful transitions of power have been rare in modern states, but once the habit has been acquired it sticks

Peaceful transitions of power have been rare in modern states, but once the habit has been acquired it sticks

What incentives are there for non-democratic governments to agree to risk losing power in elections? Based on an analysis of over 3,000 elections which have taken place across the world since 1788, Adam Przeworski writes that the practice of peacefully changing governments via the ballot box has been a relatively rare occurrence in modern history. Nevertheless, he notes that […]

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Why democracy doesn’t always improve human rights

The promotion of democracy has often formed a key component of strategies for improving human rights across the world. Courtenay R. Conrad writes that while this relationship between democracy and human rights is well established, in practice democratic institutions are not always capable of constraining human rights violations and in some cases may even make them worse. She argues […]

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    Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

The European Union has often been accused of having a ‘democratic deficit’. Ahead of the European elections on 22-25 May, Chris Terry outlines proposals put forward by the Electoral Reform Society in the UK for improving EU democracy. Among other reforms, he suggests that improving the representativeness of MEPs by using open-list voting systems, increasing the accountability of the […]

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April 30th, 2014|Chris Terry|0 Comments|