POL101Y1: Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace
PART I: Democracy and Dictatorship
Lecture II – Modern Democracy
o Example of democracy; South Africa – system in S.A was the most immoral; inhumanity
act (sexual relations b/n blacks and whites); segregation of people based on colour of
their skin. Passed the Pass Law (black S.A require a pass to enter an area designated for
whites); Resettlement Act was a forced settlement of black South Africans; the core of
racial, social, political and economic segregation (circa. 1978) – this segregation existed
until 1994; both were able to vote, travel and live under a relatively free society.
o Democracy is still very new around the world; people will fight for it (like they did in
South Africa) – it is an extremely appealing concept. (Huntington’s novel The Third Way
– democratic transitions around the world); in one generation’s time there is a
significance transition into a more democratic world – learning from past histories why it
is the best option (authoritarianism from WWII) – aspect of modernisation that makes
o Appeal b/c of its inherent virtues; the notion that we can organize ourselves as the people
(as the sovereign) – Aristotle on Politics
o Robert Dahl – Polyarchy; “a political order in which citizenship is extended to a
relatively high proportion of adults…
o Samuel Huntington on Democracy – “a 20 Century political system is democratic to the
extent that its most powerful collective decision-makers are selected through fair,
o Democracy is about participatory politics; form of political order in which we all have a
say; freedom of speech, right to vote; an ability to participate in politics – decisions that
affect our land/countries are collectively made, no longer made in the hands of few with
Liberty – freedoms expressed in terms of rights; we have the right to descent (to
disagree) among each other and the government. Liberal democracy is mediated
Equality – democratic or political citizenship; in the political sphere we are all as
individuals equal; regardless of race, gender, economic, culture and so on we are all
politically equal; everyone has the same weighted vote. Modern liberalism is about
the individual – participate as equal individuals as protected by the rule of law.
Rule of Law – means by which we do politics/make decisions are all governed by
rules (ie. Constitution)
Pluralism – as individuals enjoy the rights and freedoms implicit in democracy and
equality that allows us to express these interests means we live in a pluralistic Toneguzzo 2
society; multiple ideas and ideologies and they all matter – democracy is about
making compromises among this pluralism.
Institutionalize Uncertainty – it is about the ability to elect our representatives and
government. Elections empower us to vote a government in and what’s even more
empowering is elections allow us to vote a government out; in a democracy there are
winner and losers but even if you are voted out, you are not obliterated – but rather
you can come back to contest in elections again. It is this uncertainty that in fact
makes democracies work.
o As much expansion as we have seen there have also been a significant amount of
breakdowns (16% breakdown and return to democracy; 16% breakdown and no return to
o Even through democracy is appealing and has virtues it is fragile and can be easily taken
away. (ie. Thailand; in the 1990s there is democracy; in 2006 there is a military regime
with the banning of political parties).
Democracy as a Process:
o Understand it as a dynamic process not and end in itself.
o The right to vote is not a natural right in democratic citizenship but it is conferred to you;
even with citizenship you may not be conferred the right to vote – origins of Canadian
democracy (1920); 1918 women could vote; until 1960 status Indians could vote in
Canada; 1963 all citizens of racial status could vote – similar instances in the United
States; thus a democracy is a long term evolutionary process.
o Appreciate the fact that democracies don’t suddenly appear – we understand dynamics of
o (I) Foundation in which we choose democracy – think of democracy’s foundation using
the Modernization Theory; social modernization followed by political modernization
(basically explains how the West has developed):
(1) Economic transformation – tradition societies are ones that rely on subsistence
agriculture but over time economy become transformed and begin to trade; build
infrastructure; build roads; integrate technology into the economy – engage in an
(2) Economic development – eventually become wage earners; no longer a society of
subsistence farmers; growing their economy and seeing the rise of the middle class
(modern economic society) compared to the rich and those that farm for them.
(3) Demographic change (Urban