Politics, Society and Models of Democracy by YaR04Z1


									Models of Democracy
and Post-Democracy

      Alistair Cole
                  Regime Typologies

   Traditional comparativists sought to distinguish between
    different types of regime: that is clusters of regimes which
    share sufficient characteristics to enable them to be considered
    as belonging to a group of similar regimes.
   Comparative politics traditionally operated a tripartite division
    of the world into: liberal democracies, Communist regimes,
    ‘third world’ states (this last being the most unsatisfactory of
    the three). None of these categories was ever satisfactory.
   The Political Development school of the 1960s and 1970s
    assumed eventual convergence to liberal democratic norms
    Liberal democracy was assumed to be superior…
           The ‘loss of clusters’
   The traditional tryptic has been challenged by
    the evolution of history, not least the collapse
    of communism in 1989-1991.
   Unit of analysis less likely to be single
    country, more identifying explanatory
    variables across countries
      Liberal Democracy aka Gordon
               Smith, 1986
   political competition for the highest offices of state, as expressed by
    competing political parties,
   the free interplay of interests, and an acceptance of political and economic
   alternation in power ( or at least the theoretical possibility of it).
   recognition of a boundary between the state and civil society, implying
    freedom of the media. (liberal democracy)
   recognition of the rights of legal opposition.
   a recognition of constitutionalism: i.e. that political processes are
    regularised by reference to respect for duly established rules and
    constitutional norms. This might take the form of a written constitution, or
    an unwritten form; but of greater importance than this is the extent to which
    each branch of government theoretically operates within the strict
    parameters of legal rules, safeguard against arbitrary government.
          Limitations and criticism
   This classic definition of liberal democracy is rather a formalistic one; it
    does not consider, by itself, whether democracies are capable of providing
    effective government, of delivering the goods.
   It is one based on a model of competitive elitism: alternative elites stand by
    ready to conduct the affairs of government. It is one that requires a minimal
    democratic participation.
   Too much participation can be destabilising; in one version of this (Lipset
    and Bendix) democratic stability requires limited participation.
   The claim sustained by the liberal democracies to allow for the free
    interplay of democratic forces has in most cases proved accurate: this can
    be measured by the fact that most of the core 20 liberal democracies have at
    some time managed an alternation in power.
   Moreover, it has been rare for any one government to remain in power for
    more than ten years
        Limitations and criticism 2
    Marxist critique: the liberties safeguarded by liberal democracy are
    excessively negative and formalistic, designed primarily to safeguard
    existing property relations
   Marxist critique of the notion of pluralism - i.e. a dispersal of power
    throughout the political, social and economic systems - is a myth; that the
    pluralist idea of fair interaction between competing interests is erroneous,
    with the odds heavily stacked in favour of those possessing capital; and that
    the idea of democracy itself is a misnomer, since power is exercised by a
    small pro-capitalist elite.
    liberal democracy has proved intolerant of genuine attempts at
    revolutionary change: any attempt fundamentally to challenge the norms of
    capitalism, e.g, has invited a reversion away from democracy towards
    dictatorship- such as in Chile with the overthrow of Allende's Marxist
    government in 1973.
   Reverse: attempts to impose democracy through arms, as in Irak.
    Huntingdon: crisis of civilizations and imposing democracy through the
    barrel of a gun. S. Huntingdon, The Third Wave: Democratization in the
    Late Twentieth Century, 1991
    Six Models of European Democracy
   D. Held, Models of democracy,1987, 1996, 2005
   Held 1: Athenian Democracy
   Small communities, direct participation &
    sovereignty (polis) over all public affairs
   Office short term, by election, lot & rotation
   Women & slaves excluded
   Low participation
   Domination by demagogues & factions as/ more
    likely than ‘deliberation’; instability
Held 2: Competitive elitist democracy
        (Majoritarian Model)
   Theoretical roots in Weber & Schumpeter
   Influenced by the protective model of democracy;
    dominant 1945-70s – rather similar to the model
    outlined above
   Key feature: competition between alternative elites
   Governments are strong within parliaments, but
    subordinate to elections, and hence parliaments, over
    time. This is particularly apposite to describe British
   Participation limited and intermittent. Too much
    particpipation destabilising (Lipset and Bendix)
Held 3: Legal Democracy (Consensual
   State strongly constrained by the law/the ‘rule
    of law’
   Separation (sharing) of powers emphasised
   Minimum role for state in society
   Markets and free trade should be given fullest
    possible scope
   Epitomised by l.C20th ‘neo-liberal’ trend
    Held 4: Participatory Democracy

   Inspired by developmental democracy & in C20th by
    Macpherson & Carole Pateman
   A knowledgeable, participating citizenry is essential
   Participation in regulating the state, local
    community/ies and the workplace
   Party elites directly accountable to members
   Need for consistency between power structures in
    public and private spheres. Democracy can not thrive
    of structures of civil society remain authoritarian.
   Driver behind new social movements, participatory
      Beyond Held: Social Democracy
   Dahrendorf: 1945-1980 welfare states added a
    substantive (material) basis to the largely procedural
    basis of liberal democracy. Democracy consists in a
    set of rights and duties, including expectations of
    welfare rights. Democracy is a form of social
   Bobbio: ‘Rolling back’ the welfare state implies
    rolling back/undermining democracy itself
   R. Dahrendorf, After Social Democracy, 1980
   N. Bobbio, ‘Liberalism old and new’ in: idem. The
    Future of Democracy, 1987
     C. Crouch, Postdemocracy, 2004
   Early C21st world-historical peak for democracy, in terms of its
    geographical range
   But there are many problems in established democracies.
    Everywhere there is increasing abstention, dissatisfaction with
    performance of democratic regimes, a challenge to the
    effectiveness of democratic regimes
   There is also, specifically, a problem with American democracy,
    which is bound to impact upon European countries. US leadership
    of democratic world established in the 1930s, on the basis of the
    Roosevelt Welfare state, when most of Europe turned Right. But
    since the 1980s, USA has changed fundamentally: it no longer
    represents value-based, or normative leadership.
   For Crouch, post-Democracy is NOT non-democratic, nor anti-
    democratic, but it is satisfied with residual democratic and welfare
    rights. Individual market-based economic rights have the primacy
    over social or political rights
   In post-democracy, social movements are less vibrant, especially
    those of Labour,,, and the trade unions are marginal actors
               Post-Democracy (suite)

   unions are marginalised
   State as policeman → more prominent role for the state in
    regulating everyday lives, a more instrusive state
   Wealth gap grows; taxation less redistributive with moves to
    the global economy
   The poor return to pre-democratic condition of non-
    participation: in the US, this is flagrant, but is also evidence in
    western European democracies, where electoral registration
    has declined. Poor do not register; either because they do not
    have a home, or because they fear the State (for taxation
    purposes, e.g.).
   The nature of political communication is changed in an age of
    mediatisation and soundbites. Genuine discussion in the public
    space fades away.
      Lijphart’s Majoritarian and
      Consensual Democracies
 Lijphart, A. (1984). Democracies.
  Patterns of Majoritarian and
  Consensus Government in twenty-one
 Lijphart, A. (1999). Patterns of

  Democracy. Government Forms and
  Performance in Thirty-Six Countries.
            Lijphart’s Majoritarian and
            Consensual Democracies
   Executive-parties cluster
   Concentration of executive power in a single party majority
    cabinet/broad coalitions
   Domination of Executive-Legislative relations by the
    Executive/ an active legislature influencing policy
   The prevalence of a two-party system/ a multi-party system
   A majoritarian electoral system(first past the post or two
    ballot)/ a proportional electoral system
   A pluralist interest group system, with ‘free-for –all’
    bargaining/ a corporatist style pattern of interest mediation
           Federal-Unitary cluster

   Unitary and centralised government / devolved or
    federal government
   Unicameral concentration of legislative
    power/powerful second chamber representing societal
   Flexible constitutions/written constitutions
   Legislative sovereignty re the
    constitution/constitutional arbitration in a system of
    shared and separated powers
   Executive-dependent Central Banks/independent
    monetary authorities.
   European democracies, for Lijphart, could be divided
    according to these two poles. In practice, individual
    democracies would lie somewhere between the two
    extremes. Britain, for example, as the archetype of the
    Westminster model, was clearly the representative of
    the first camp; more divided countries, such as the
    Netherlands, of the second camp.
   This model has long been very influential, as a basic
    way of differentiating between European
            Lijphart’s 1999 study
   study increased also addressed the issue of substantive
    outcomes. He considered which, of majoritarian or consensual
    democracies, performed better in relation to: A) Economic
    performance and B) Democratic quality.
   Lijphart’s main conclusion was that consensus/negotiation
    democracy pole is far superior to the majoritarian, ‘winner-
    takes all’ one.
   Lijhpart found that there was little difference between
    Consensual and Majoritarian democracies in relation to
    economic performance.
   But that consensual, non-majoritarian democracies ensured a
    much higher democratic quality.
   The consensus model ensures a positive logic of negotiation
    and compromise; whereas the Winner takes all system is
    inherently conflictual and negative sum.
       Consociational Democacy
   Lijphart’s concept of consociationalism was also very influential for
    many years. According to the consociational model, divided societies –
    such as the Netherlands or Belgium – could nonetheless support
    effective and consensual political systems, as a result of elite-level
    compromises between the main pillars represented in a society.
    In a society divided by issues of religious identity, for example, elite
    level accommodation ensured broad support for the system.

   The Lijphart model was a critique of the pretensions of the Westminster
    model of democracy and celebrated the fact that negotiation,
    compromise and coalition produced not only fairer, but also better
   One such critique was that of Paul Penning. The first criticism: that this
    model betrayed the empirical reality, as much in Majoritarian systems, as in
    Consensual ones.
    TheMajoritarian model did not necessarily produce a winner takes all
    mentality, because regular alternations in power meant that governments
    exercised power with caution.
   Likewise, the negotiated consensual and consociational mechanisms of
    divided societies did not always succeed in producing a fairer, or more
    effective politics.
   The role of institutional incentives could be overstressed in these accounts.
    In the consociational model, as in Belgium, this has clearly broken down,
    with territorial elites ‘repillarising’ Belgian society.
    P. Pennings, ‘Parliamentary control of the executive in 47
    countries’, paper prepared for the ECPR, April 2000 @:
                  Penning, 2000
   Penning argued that the Lijphart model exaggerated
    differences – and explained these overly in relation to
    institutional, rather than societal arguments.
   The dichotomous view of there being two types of
    democracy is highly misleading. Contrary to
    Lijphart’s assumptions, strong executives do not
    automatically imply weak legislatures: this is far too
    mechanical and assumption, one that relies too much
    on structure and not enough on agency explanations.
        Role of electoral system and
   There have also been criticisms about the role of the
    electoral system. PR systems can create stalemate and
    instability, just as easily as they can create
    compromise and flexibility. On the other hand, ‘…
    majoritarian electoral systems and moderate multi-
    party systems, in particular, tend to generate slightly
    higher levels of institutional confidence than
    alternative arrangements' (p.234).” Institutional
    confidence is maintained because Majoritarian
    democracy can contribute to rapidly forming and
    maintaining stable governments”
    Democratizing the Economy while
      Economizing on Democracy?
   Economic benefits/Democratic Drawbacks
       Prosperity, consumerism, rising middle classes
       State denationalized, decision-making dispersed
       Capitalism is European (and Global), Democracy Local

   National democracy:
            Government by, of and for the people + with
                  Political participation, citizen representation, effective government
                   + interest consultation
   EU ‘Democracy’
            EU level: governance for and with
            National level: government by and of
       Puts pressure on National politics
            EU: policy without politics Nat’l : politics without policy
                Challenges to National Democracy
   Citizen demobilization or radicalization

   Interest group politics, social movements, INGOs
           helps with ‘associative democracy’ with the people
           does little for representative democracy by and of the people
           ‘civil society’ not what it seems: expertocracy

   National government responses?
       Europeanization
         Blame-shifting, credit-taking on policies

         Silence on ‘polity’ issues

       Globalization
         Blame-shifting increases sense of powerlessness

               Whether ‘risk society’ (Blair)
               or ‘protection in globalization’ (Sarkozy)

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