This week builds upon last week’s discussion of citizenship and whether everyone is included in so-called liberal democratic societies, such as those of Europe. Everyone (almost!) says they are a democrat but democracy has many different meanings: the popular, direct or participatory democracy of classical Athens, Rousseau, Marx and Lenin; the protective, representative and limited democracy of the Mills and many liberals; and ideas which see democracy as merely a means for revolving governing elites, ensuring efficient government or the means by which governing politicians are made accountable. There are many different ideas of democracy, some of which stress empowerment and others the minimising of, and protection against, power. What sorts of society do these different forms of democracy require for their success? Are some of these forms, or even democracy in general, only appropriate for some sorts of society – (e.g. is democracy specific to the west)? Are the types of democratic systems that we live in today really democracies? Some have argued that representative democracy, where a parliament is elected every number of years, is not as inclusive as a participatory democracy where there is an attempt to include the population in decision making. Still others argue that this is utopian and that it is impossible to run a country if everyone is involved. Moreover, elite theorists argue that this runs contrary to human nature! We will be contrasting representative, elitist and participatory democratic styles and relating these to theories about who governs. Is there a small elite that runs the country, or does everyone have an equal say in a truly pluralist manner?

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