Chapter two majoritarian or pluralist democracy
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Chapter Two: Majoritarian or Pluralist Democracy?. The Theory of Democratic Government. Theories of a democratic government include consideration of: Autocracy : a system of government in which the power to govern is concentrated in the hands of one individual

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Chapter Two: Majoritarian or Pluralist Democracy?

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Chapter two majoritarian or pluralist democracy

Chapter Two:Majoritarian or Pluralist Democracy?


The theory of democratic government

The Theory of Democratic Government

  • Theories of a democratic government include consideration of:

    • Autocracy: a system of government in which the power to govern is concentrated in the hands of one individual

    • Oligarchy:a system of government in which power is concentrated in the hands of a few people

    • Democracy: a system of government in which, in theory, the people rule, either directly or indirectly


The meaning and symbolism of democracy

The Meaning andSymbolism of Democracy

  • The first major school of thought about what constitutes democracy believes that democracy is a form of government that emphasizes the procedures that enable the people to govern or how decisions are made.

  • The second major school of thought about what constitutes democracy sees democracy in the substance of government policies, in freedom of religion and the provision for human needs, or what government does.


The procedural view of democracy

The Procedural View of Democracy

  • Procedural democratic theory: a view of democracy as being embodied in a decision-making process that involves universal participation, political equality, majority rule,and responsiveness.

  • These principles address three questions:

    • Who should participate in decision-making?

    • How Muchshould each participant’s vote count?

    • How many votes are needed to reach a decision?


The procedural view of democracy1

The Procedural View of Democracy

  • Universal participation: the concept that everyone in a democratic society should participate in governmental decision-making

  • Political equality: provides for one vote per person, with all votes counted equally

  • Majority rule:the decision of a group must reflect the preference of more than half of those participating


A complication direct versus indirect democracy

A Complication: DirectVersus Indirect Democracy

  • Societies can fulfill principles with a direct or participatory democracy: a system of government where rank-and-file citizens rule themselves rather than electing representatives to govern on their behalf

  • The framers of the Constitution were convinced that participatory democracy on the national level was undesirable

    • They created a representative democracy: a system of government where citizens elect public officials to govern on their behalf

    • A fourth principle is necessary -- responsiveness: a decision-making principle necessitated by representative government, that implies that elected representatives should do what the majority of people wants


The substantive view of democracy

The SubstantiveView of Democracy

  • Substantive democratic theory:the view that democracy is embodied in the substance of government policies rather than in the policymaking procedure

    • Government policies should guarantee civil liberties (freedom of behavior, such as freedom of religion and freedom of expression)

    • Government policies should guarantee civil rights (powers or privileges that government may not arbitrarily deny to individuals, such as protection against discrimination in employment and housing)


Procedural democracy versus substantive democracy

Procedural DemocracyVersus Substantive Democracy

  • The substantive view of democracy does not provide clear, precise criteria that allow a determination of whether or not government is democratic

  • The procedural view can produce undesirable social policies because of those criteria, such as those that prey on minorities


Institutional models of democracy

Institutional Models of Democracy

  • The majoritarian model of democracy: the classical theory of democracy in which government by the people is interpreted as government by the majority of the people

  • The pluralist model of democracy: an interpretation of democracy in which government by the people is taken to mean government by people operating through competing interest groups


The majoritarian model vs the pluralist model

The MajoritarianModel vs. the Pluralist Model

  • Majoritarian model:

    • Conclusive elections

    • Centralized structure of government

    • Cohesive political parties with well-defined programs

  • Pluralist model:

    • Does not demand much knowledge from citizens in general but requires specialized knowledge of groups of citizens

    • Limits majority action - allows minorities to rule


Institutional models of democracy1

Institutional Models of Democracy

  • An alternative - but undemocratic - model is elite theory: the view that a small group of people actually makes most of the important government decisions.

  • Elite Theory vs. Pluralist Theory

    • Pluralist theory see many different groups vying with each other in each policy arena

    • Elite theory sees a durable ruling minority


Democracies and globalization

Democracies and Globalization

  • Democratization: a process of transition as a country attempts to move from an authoritarian form of government to a democratic one

  • American Democracy: More Pluralist than Majoritarian


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