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POL 2104 C - Intro to Comparative Politics - Emily Regan Wills - 08 Jan. 29.docx

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Political Science
Mark Salter

POL 1102 G - Politics & Globalization - Mark Salter - 01 Jan. 06 What is Democracy Democracy is an overdetermined term - “There is an understandable temptation to load too many expectations on this concept & to imagine that by attaining democracy, a society will have resolved all of its political, social, economic, administrative, & cultural problems.” (Schmitter & Karl 158) - We grew up in a democracy, so we have lots of expectations of what democracy is when comparing it with our lives. - Robert Dahl on American belief about democracy: “Over long periods of time the great bulk of the citizens possess a fairly stable set of democratic beliefs at a high level of abstraction… Most citizens assume theAmerican political system is consistent with the democratic creed. Indeed, the common view seems to be that our system is not only democratic but is perhaps the most perfect expression of democracy that exists anywhere[.]” (Who Governs?, 316) - The thing here is that as learners, we have to learn to peel of these overdetermined layers of democracy with all its expectations associated with Canada and the US. Basic Definition: - “Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm, by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition & cooperation of their elected representatives.” (Schmitter and Karl 151) - Money quote with many key details - system of governance: a set of rules of how the country is run - rulers: decision makers exist - held accountable: rulers can’t do anything - actions: Rulers must do things, accountable for actions - Public realm: it’s not closed where only certain people can enter it - citizens: has people - acting indirectly: has representatives - competition: political views being argued on - referendums, debates, elections, etc. - cooperation: sometimes opposing teams can still compromise & work together, passing a bill together - elected: literally requires elections - representatives: obvious - Note that this tries to strike a balance between “electoralism” (elections = democracy) and a definition of democracy that assumes too much - When countries transition to democracy, whether or not the country stays democratic has a strong
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