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Democracy Print
Democracy is the form of political regime where people choose their rulers by voting for them in elections.

The concept ‘democracy’ is best understood through its Greek roots: demos, meaning the ‘citizen body’ and cracy, meaning ‘the rule of’.

If we take into account the great variety of democratic forms, democracy can be designed as the set of political regimes which embody, through history, the same political ideal of enlightened participation of the citizen body in the City decision making process.

The introduction of the concept of representation has represented a major change in the functioning of democracy. It permits to enlarge the democracy forms from small entities (on the model of the Athenian democracy) to large Republics. It also gives the opportunity to introduce a separation of tasks between politicians and people.

The concept of representation can also be considered as a risk for democracy and a perversion of the original form of direct democracy. Representation implies the danger of democratic deficits – in particular at European level- and the consolidation of a closed elite of politicians.

In many occidental societies, the high rates of abstention from ballots, particularly from young people, is considered as a deep crisis of democracy. One major stake of civic participation and citizenship is to bring back citizens and representative democracy together. (PL)

Dahl, R. (1956) A Preface to DemocraticTtheory, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Castoriadis, C. (1990) La société bureaucratique, Paris, Bourgois.
Putnam, R.D. (1993) Making Democracy Work, Princeton, Princeton University Press. 


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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 May 2006 )

Project supported by funding under the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme - Coordinated by IRIS e.V.

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