An analysis of the concept of democracy and representative government

Under second or reflexive modernity, activists seek out styles and forms of intervention that make a direct or immediate impact in the political field. This can be attributed to globalization and a new form of interconnectedness.

Representative democracy definition

Bernard Manin : Yes, I would say so. We need a vigorous digitally-enabled voice, an echo chamber, for what people are thinking about. Edmund Burke wrote about this in reply to Thomas Paine in the s: should a politician be a delegate or a representative? What is happening is that nation states are themselves trying to assert their own primacy—not just the US, but Russia, China and Europe—and this is creating a clamour which makes it very difficult for international global institutions to get any traction. Of course this current consists in an informal politics, one made of influence and public judgment more than authoritative will; but it is very important in order to capture the peculiar character of political representation in democratic society. As citizens become emboldened to take more matters into their own hands, so those who are elected to represent them come to appear less as representatives and more as 'politicians', less like one of 'us' and more as one of 'them', part of the governing apparatus. The weight that elected officials must give to these expressions is not rigidly fixed. Today we see a fraction of that figure, often as low as one to two per cent of the voting population. Yet this is not the whole story. Note that this arrangement leaves room for some influence of voter wishes over the actions of elected officials. But citizens are not seeking power for themselves—yet.

Bernard Manin : On my account elites play indeed a critical role in representative government. On the one hand, as already said, this system is mixed, constituted of several elements between which relationships are not rigorously determined.

It speaks to a recognition that noise, resonance, direct engagement on the streets, in the squares, outside parliaments is part of democratic life. The true European question is thus one of constitution, a foundational issue rather than one of ordinary or representative politics. Alongside this changing disposition is the adoption of repertoires of activism that dispense with the party in favour of flatter or more 'horizontal' styles of interaction based on networks.

In some representative democracies with bicameral legislaturesone chamber is not elected by the people.

They can tweet back, and I am sure they do.

representative democracy countries

Bernard Manin : I entirely agree with Nadia to say that there is a violation of representation when a leader aims to embody by himself alone the entire community beyond its many divides, rather than a particular view of the community and the common good. Texts already pick over the entrails of the 'dead' democratic body and our 'post-democratic' future.

The number of voters rises, sometimes massively, when elections are perceived as important, involving high stakes, and close-fought.

An analysis of the concept of democracy and representative government
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Representative democracy