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Political Science Lecture 2A Democracy.docx

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Political Science
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Todd Alway

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Political Science 1G06 Lecture 2 September 18, 2012 Democracy - In the modern context, Democracy is almost universally advocated as the best model for organizing political life - Yet this was not always the case – historically democracy has more often been the target of criticism than praise - So why has the term come to be looked upon so favourably? - What is the history of Democracy and why has its practice gone from rejection to admiration? - What does democracy mean? - 1. Democracy comes from the Greek Demos (people) and Kratos (rule) - Just what this “rule of the people” means and how it has been translated into actual political practice has been historically and culturally variable - In this lecture we will focus on two forms: Direct democracy and Indirect (Liberal) Democracy – examine their justifications and explore their particular institutional structures - Direct Democracy: - A participatory form of democracy - Where there are no specialized distinctions between governors and governed - Citizens are directly involved in governing themselves – directly involved in debating and determining public laws, rules, regulations (rather than electing someone else to make these decisions) - There are rare opportunities where we can directly participate (referendum) - If you get enough signatures on a petition you are able to recall a certain member Historical example: Ancient Athens - All male adult citizens were able to participate – participation to a far greater extent than today - Comprised the Assembly (men had time because of slaves and women who took a lot of work off their shoulders) - Debated and decided on all major issues - In those cases where political offices were deemed necessary, office holders were o Elected o Chosen by lot - Of course this political order (at least as it existed in Athens) depended upon exclusion and violence: - Women, foreigners, slaves - The free Greek citizen must be seen in the context of the slave labour upon which he rested - The Ancient Greeks theorists were almost all hostile to Democracy: - 1. “Treats men as equal whether they are equal or not” - 2. Metaphor of ship’s captain: run the ship on the basis of what everyone wants. They would elect someone who says what they want to hear - 3. Creates a society based upon indulging desire rather than the good of the community. Criticisms of direct democracy  uses rhetoric Indi
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