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Representativ valdemokrati?: Gör den valdemokratiska idealtypen rättvisa åt den representativa demokratin?
Örebro University, Department of Social and Political Sciences.
2006 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In modern, Swedish political science there are different ways of looking at ‘democracy’. A very common distinction is that between three groups of democratic theories: electoral democracy, participation democracy and deliberative democracy.

The nowadays frequently used concept of electoral democracy is often used as synonymous with the older concept of repre­­­­sen­tative or indirect democracy – frequently regarded as a contrast to the direct democracy of ancient Athens. However, there are also important differences. As for elections, people have no other significant role than voting for different political parties. It is a common view among defenders of electoral democracy that ‘ordinary people’ ought not to try to influence politicians between the elections.

There are mainly two different ways of looking at representative democracy; one stresses the future and focuses on mandates; the other focuses on retrospective accountability.

The modern concept of electoral democracy has many similarities with Joseph Schumpeter’s elite perspective. The main difference is that modern electoral democrats accept the concept of a ‘popular will’ – a concept that Schumpeter regarded as metaphysical.

The many meanings of the concept of ‘representation’ are analysed with reference to political scientist Hanna Pitkin, who defines its core character as ‘acting in the interest of the represented, in a manner responsive to them’. Others, like Bernard Manin, regard representative democracy as substantially different from direct democracy. The main difference is the election in contrast to the lot. For Manin, the election is indeed equal and democratic because every person has one and only one vote but at the same time unequal and aristocratic – sometimes even oligarchic – because we usually choose a person who is ‘better’ than the average.

In the electoral democracy model as well as in Schumpeter’s view, ordinary people need not participate much in the political parties or in the nomination process. The ballot is coming to the voter from the outside – like a stock on the market. For Manin, on the other hand, the nomination process is the central point.

One conclusion of this analysis is that the so-called electoral model may be regarded as an ideal type, in a Weberian sense. However, there is a risk that the model is interpreted as an ideal in a normative sense, since the concept of electoral democracy not only is narrower and ‘thinner’ than the concept of representative democracy. It is also narrower than the democratic views of Pitkin and Manin. More specifically, using ‘electoral democracy’ synonymously with ‘representative democracy’ may exclude these authors’ understanding of the dynamic mechanisms of the latter’s nomination processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. , p. 86
Keywords [sv]
Demokratiteori, representation, Hanna Pitkin, Bernard Manin, val, lott, valdemokrati, representativ demokrati, responsivitet, ansvar, eliter, Joseph Schumpeter
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-555ISRN: ORU-SAM/STK-D--06/0002--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-555DiVA, id: diva2:136940
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samhälle/juridik
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Available from: 2006-07-13 Created: 2006-07-13 Last updated: 2017-10-18

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