Democracy and its Dynamics


‘Democracy’ – demos and kracy, people rule of

Popular sovereignty

Majoritarian and populist

Direct or participatory or plebiscitary v indirect or representative or pluralistic


[I] ‘Liberal-democracy’ – places various constraints on democracy in the name of protecting individual and minority liberty or freedom against the ‘tyranny of the majority’



Separation of state powers – executive (decision), legislative (supremacy), judiciary (independence)

Emergency measures – clear delineation

Separation of church and state – church no longer has special status, courts or educational prerogatives

Federal distribution of powers and jurisdictions – separate houses

Specification of individual rights – thought, conscience, expression, association, mobility etc


Rule of Law

Equality before/under the law – trial by peers

Due process – no torture, no self-incrimination,

Civil liberties

Human rights

Petition or due recourse regarding govt policies



‘Public good’ or ‘commonwealth’ – national security to public health/education to individual wellbeing

‘Republic’  – if head of state is elected

Parliamentary – Prime Minister is head of govt and operates through an executive ministry but there is a separate head of state

Presidential – head of state and head of govt but legisl operates largely separately


Representatives by election

Extension of suffrage, widest possible electorate

More accurate representation better than less

Majority or plurality (most)

First past the post/winner take all

Proportional Representation


[II] Public sphere or civil society or political culture

Individuals and interest groups

Political parties – interest aggregation and interest articulation

Pluralism, Diversity, Multiculturalism  – actual tolerance and even appreciation of differences

Free media sector – regulated but otherwise diversely owned and accessible

Free market – regulated but otherwise not dominated by state owned players


[III] Citizen or cognitive abilities and behavioral habits

Democratic character

Multifaceted or perspectival

Internal pluralism or at least

Tolerance of that pluralism

Cosmopolitanism or internationalism

Vigilant and informed

Willingness to rule and be ruled in turn

Enlightened self-interest – individualistic yet reasonable and even affectively attached to democracy