Democratisation of Democracy? On the Discontinuity Between Empirical and Normative Theories of Democracy

Representation 49 (2):117–131 (2013)
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The paper considers the gap that exists between between normative and empirical theories of democracy. Empirical theories usually stop in their aspirations where normative theories get off the ground, that is, they take the model of liberal democracy as their normative horizont. This is a confusing situation especially with regard to the possibilities of enhancing the quality of existing liberal democracies. We argue that a simple recalibration of democracy indexes, so as to include normatively more demanding considerations, is impossible, due to certain recurring features of normative models. We conclude that if we want to be serious about bridging the gap, concessions should be made both sides.
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