♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-21 Democracy

♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-21 Democracy

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5 Socialist Democracy UNIT 21 DIRECT AND PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY Structure 21.0 Objectives 21.1 Introduction: Meaning of Democracy 21.1.1 Various Meanings 21.1.2 Linking Government to the People 21.2 What is Direct Democracy? 21.2.1 Principles governing Direct Democracy 21.2.2 Merits of Direct Democracy 21.3 Greek Democracy as Direct Democracy 21.3.1 Athenian Democracy: Reasons for its Fame 21.3.2 Aristotle’s ‘The Politics’ 21.4 Limitations of Direct Democracy 21.4.1 Flaws of Athenian Democracy 21.5 Direct Democracy in Modern Times 21.6 Let Us Sum Up 21.7 Some Useful References 21.8 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 21.0 OBJECTIVES In this unit, you will learn about direct (ancient) and participatory (modern) democracy. After going through the unit, you should be able to: Explain the meaning of democracy; Distinguish between its various forms such as direct and participatory; Examine the strengths and weaknesses of different forms. 21.1 INTRODUCTION: MEANING OF DEMOCRACY Democracy is both a form of government and an ideal, an aspiration and a standard. The core element of democracy is self-rule. The origin of the term democracy can be traced back to ancient Greece. Derived from the Greek word ‘ demokratia ’, it means rule by the people. In the literal sense, it rejects the separation of the two, i.e., between the ruler and the ruled. It is interesting to note that unlike the terms communism and socialism, which have a point of reference in Marxism, democracy has not been associated with a specific doctrinal source or ideology. Infact, it is a byproduct of the entire development of Western civilization and therefore, tends to be used rather loosely. Thus, the history of the idea of democracy is rather complex and is marked by conflicting and confusing conceptions. It is confusing because “this is still an active history” and also because the issues are complex. However, it has been justified and defended on the grounds that it achieves one or more of the following fundamental value or goods like equality, liberty, moral self-development, the common interest, private interests, social utility etc.
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6 Democracy 21.1.1 Various Meanings Varied meanings have been attached to the word ‘democracy’. Some of them are as follows: A form of government in which people rule directly; A society based on equal opportunity and individual merit, rather than hierarchy and privilege; A system of decision-making based on the principle of majority rule; A system of rule that secures the rights and interests of minorities by placing checks upon the power of the majority; A means of filling public offices through a competitive struggle for the popular vote; A system of government that serves the interests of the people regardless of their participation in political life (Heywood, 1997:66). A system of government based on the consent of the governed.
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2012 for the course IR 101 taught by Professor Harfancoofers during the Spring '12 term at Sunway University College.

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♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-21 Democracy

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