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Unformatted text preview: 13 Sot Democracy UNIT 22 REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY Structure 22.0 Objectives 22.1 Introduction 22.2 What is Representative Democracy? 22.2.1 Limited and Indirect 22.2.2 Synonymous with Electoral Democracy 22.3 Different Views on Representative Democracy 22.3.1 Pluralist 22.3.2 Elitist 22.3.3 Rival Views 22.4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy 22.4.1 Popular Sovereignty 22.4.2 Political Equality 22.4.3 Political Liberty 22.5 Representative Democracy in Practice 22.6 Democracy and Elections 22.6.1 The Election Process 22.7 Democracy and Alienation 22.8 Democracy and Public Opinion 22.9 Gender and Democracy: Participation and Representation 22.10 Democracy and the Internet 22.11 Let Us Sum Up 22.12 Some Useful References 22.13 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 22.0 OBJECTIVES In this unit, you will be reading about representative democracy, which is the form of democracy most familiar to all of us. After going through this unit, you should be able to: • Explain the meaning of representative democracy, • Discuss different views on it, • Enumerate the fundamental principles of representative democracy, • Examine democracy – election interface, and • Critically comment on some contemporary and vital issues linked with representative democracy. 22.1 INTRODUCTION This unit deals with representative democracy, the form of democracy that is prevalent world-wide. As the very name indicates, in a democracy of this type, the citizens 14 Democracy choose their representatives through elections that are held periodically. It is these citizens’ representatives who articulate their aspirations in public forums such as legislatures. As you can make out, representative democracy is synonymous with electoral democracy. 22.2 WHAT IS REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY? 22.2.1 Limited and Indirect Representative democracy is a limited and indirect form of democracy: It is limited in the sense that participation in government is infrequent and brief, being restricted to the act of voting every few years. It is indirect in the sense that the public does not exercise power by itself, but selects those who will rule on its behalf. This form of rule is democratic only as far as representation establishes a reliable and effective link between the government and the governed. The strengths of representative democracy include the following: • It offers a practicable form of democracy, as large populations cannot actually participate in the governmental process. • It relieves the ordinary citizen of the burden of decision-making, thus making it possible to have division of labour in politics. • It maintains stability by distancing the ordinary citizen from politics thereby encouraging them to accept compromise....
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- Spring '12
- Democracy, representative, Representative democracy