Repressed Democracy

[Democracia reprimida: problemas de legitimidad en la sociedad global]

Regina Kreide
Justus Liebig University Giessen
Room E 116, Karl-Glöckner Str. 21 E, 35394 Gießen, Alemania

Democracy seems to be no longer self-evident. Colin Crouch and others describe a growing sense of alienation in politics: democratic institutions and procedures may be working properly, yet they themselves promote non-democratic values such technocracy, oligarchy, elitism. For the citizens, only an illusion of democracy persists. The article argues that the weakening of democracy in practice mirrors the vanishing of democracy in political theory and philosophy. We may face a crisis of democratic politics as a result of a crisis of democratic theory. Predominant theories of democracy fail, for the most part, to adequately reflect the changing social conditions in democratic societies and to offer a conception of democratic politics that would address current legitimacy deficits. The article discusses prominent theoretical approaches (idealist theory vs. realism; consensus vs. Dissent theory) and points out that all have difficulties conceptualizing possible resources for democratization adequate to contemporary issues and conditions. A new version of political theory is outlined and defended, such that builds upon a redefined notion of democratic sovereignty and communicative power, complex enough to reflect the sociological reality of today’s politics and to reach beyond the institutionalized and formalized setting of democracy.

Key words: radical democracy, legitimacy, communicative power, repression, the political

view pdf
 ePub (Kindle, iPad, eBook Readers)