Last week recap:
- Democracy: government held accountable, elected representatives take into account
the people’s interests, changes possible in the electoral sphere
POL 2104 C - Intro to Comparative Politics - Emily Regan Wills - 09 Feb. 03
Better or Worse Democracies
Quality of Democracies
- Electoralism assumes that we can determine whether a country is democratic based on
whether or not it holds free & fair elections.
- Richer notions of democracy have more elements: that rulers are held accountable by citizens,
the existence of a public sphere, & that citizens have representatives who compete, cooperate,
- Is democracy a binary variable (i.e., the options are ‘democratic’ or ‘not democratic’)? If not,
how can we compare democracies? How can we understand countries as varying among the
characteristics that we care about?
Don’t Call it Democracy
- Neither Pitkin nor Dahl use the term democracy to talk about what they’re evaluating.
- Pitkin: she uses representative government
- Dahl: he uses polyarchy (rule of the many)
- remember democracy = rule of the people
- Pitkin : b/c she considers the regime good or not whether the representativeness of the
government is actually effective & w/o corruption
- Dahl : he wants to pull the assumptions associated with the overdefined term with
democracy away from it, and polyarchy is a prerequisite for democracy
Hannah Pitkin, The Concept of Representation
- Aims to determine what, precise, representation is, & what it means in the context of
- “There need not be a constant activity of responding, but there must be a constant condition of
responsiveness, of potential readiness to respond.” (157)
- They can answer no, as no is still a response nonetheless
- Amenable to leadership; not amenable to manipulation
- leadership vs. manipulation : should the government always listen to its people, is it in
their best interests to listen to them? Would the government be more effective if they had little
worry about potential backlash? - Some forms of manipulation that a representative government might have to worry
about include lobbying, law enforcement (convicted felons can’t vote, including on laws that put
them in jail in the first place), how & where $ is spent & shared,
- “Representative government is not defined by particular actions at a particular moment, but by
long term systematic arrangements” (Pitkin, 158).
- She’s most likely talking about the the regime level of state.
What is the purpose of elections?
- “And we tend to feel this