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Unformatted text preview: Challenges to Democracy 101 Chapter 8 Challenges to Democracy Overview This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own definition of democracy. 102 Democratic Politics Thinking about challenges Do you remember the first chapter of your Political Science textbook of Class IX? There we tracked the expansion of democracy all over the world in the last hundred years. Our reading thereafter has confirmed our initial impression: democracy is the dominant form of government in the contemporary world. It does not face a serious challenger or rival. Yet our exploration of the various dimensions of democratic politics has shown us something else as well. The promise of democracy is far from realised anywhere in the world. Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does not mean that it does not face any challenges. At different points in this tour of democracy, we have noted the serious challenges that democracy faces all over the world. A challenge is not just any problem. We usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which are significant and which can be overcome. A challenge is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for progress. Once we overcome a challenge we go up to a higher level than before. Different countries face different kinds of challenges. Can you recall the map of democratic governments in the year 2000 that was included in your textbook? At least one fourth of the globe is still not under democratic government. The challenge for democracy in these parts of the world is very stark. These countries face the foundational challenge of making the transition to democracy and then instituting democratic government. This involves bringing down the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military away from controlling government and establishing a sovereign and functional state. Most of the established democracies face the challenge of expansion. This involves applying the basic principle of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions. Ensuring greater power to local governments, extension of federal principle to all the units of the federation, inclusion of women and minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This also means that less and less decisions should remain outside the arena of democratic control. Most countries including India and other democracies like the US face this challenge.the US face this challenge....
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course SOCIAL 3so taught by Professor Stevejoyce during the Fall '09 term at Central European University.
- Fall '09