by Rod Hague and Martin Harrop

Chapter Three: Democracy

Chapter Notes

  • A democratic world: for the first time in history, most people now live in democracies.
  • Democracy challenged by expertise or guardianship. The rise of regulatory authority (e.g. central banks) and the declining scope of elected authority.
  • Direct democracy as the denial of any separation between state and society. Ancient Athens as the prime example, creating an unresolvable conflict with the contemporary realities of representation. Participatory democracy of the 1960s.
  • Modern representative democracy: indirect rather than direct democracy. Compatibility with large states and market economies. Schumpeter’s view of representative democracy as merely electing a government to reach decisions.
  • Liberal democracy: features include constitutional limits on government, entrenched rights of individual citizens and a role for expertise. Reasons for its emergence. The USA as an example.
  • The impact of modernization on democracy. In particular, the strong correlation between affluence and democracy. Lipset’s reasons for the link. India as an exception.
  • Three waves of democratization: the first wave, e.g. UK, USA. The second wave, e.g. India, Japan. The third wave, e.g. Spain, Portugal. The entrenched position of parties in the second and third waves.
  • Democratization: liberalization, transition, consolidation and deepening. Spain as an example. The possibility of consolidation without deepening.

Figures and tables


Multiple choice questions


Essays and term papers

  1. 'The core principle of democracy is self-rule.' What problems have arisen in putting this principle into practice?
  2. Is democratic governance giving way to governance by experts and regulators?

Hague & Harrop, 2013 edn, ch. 3.

A. Arblaster, Democracy
I. Budge, The New Challenge of Direct Democracy
R. Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics
R. Dahl, I. Shapiro and J. Cheibub, The Democracy Sourcebook
A. Hadenius, Democracy's Victory and Crisis
D. Held, Models of Democracy
J. Keane, The Life and Death of Democracy
J. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
F. Vibert, The Rise of the Unelected: Democracy and the New Separation of Powers



Back to Resources page