Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wg55d Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-29T00:34:20.770Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

14 - Conclusion: the modern mixed regime

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 May 2010

Pierre Rosanvallon
Collège de France, Paris
Arthur Goldhammer
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Get access


Our exploration of the counter-democratic universe has shown that we need to reconsider familiar ideas about the retreat of citizens from the public sphere and withdrawal into private life. It has also encouraged us to take a broad view of the problems and dysfunctions of contemporary democracies and to look at dimensions other than the electoral-representative. In particular, we have seen a contrast between the development of counter-democratic forms and the demise of certain political functions. What is needed is a new and more complex description of the context in which democratic politics takes place. We have identified three dimensions of democracy, each with its own distinctive characteristics: electoral-representative government, counter-democratic activity, and the institution of civil society by the political (le travail du politique). Of these, the first has been studied most frequently and carefully, with an emphasis on the various principles and procedures that govern citizen participation, expression, and representation, along with the legitimation of authority and the various mechanisms by which government is made both responsible and responsive to society. The second dimension of democracy, the counter-democratic, is the subject of this book. It includes a range of practices (which I have categorized as oversight, prevention, and judgment) by which society exerts pressure on its rulers. Counter-democratic practices give rise to informal, parallel forms of authority, or corrective powers (exercised directly in some cases and through ad hoc institutions in others).

Politics in an Age of Distrust
, pp. 290 - 318
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Bacqué, Marie-Hélène, Rey, Henry, and Sintomer, Yves, Gestion de proximité et démocratie participative: Une perspective comparative (Paris: La Découverte, 2005)Google Scholar
Callon, Michel, Lascoumes, Pierre, and Barthe, Yannick, Agir dans un monde incertain. Essai sur la démocratie technique (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2001)Google Scholar
Bourg, Dominique and Boy, Daniel, Conférences de citoyens, mode d'emploi (Paris: Descartes et Cie, 2005)Google Scholar
Skocpol, Theda, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003)Google Scholar
Manin, Bernard, “L'idée de démocratie délibérative dans la science politique contemporaine,” Politix, no. 57 (2002)Google Scholar
Ackerman, Bruce and Fishkin, James S. in Deliberation Day (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004)Google Scholar
Sunstein, Cass R., “The Law of Group Polarization,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 10, no. 2 (June 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sanders, Lynn, “Against Deliberation,” Political Theory 25, no. 3 (June 1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Perelman, Chaïm and Foriers, Paul, La Motivation des décisions de justice (Brussels: Émile Bruylant, 1978)Google Scholar
Westbrook, Robert B., John Dewey and Democracy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991)Google Scholar
Castoriadis, Cornelius, Sujet et vérité dans le monde social-historique (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002), p. 111Google Scholar
Farago, France, La Volonté (Paris: Armand Colin, 2002), p. 14Google Scholar
Constant, Benjamin, De la liberté des anciens comparée à celle des modernes (1819), in Cours de politique constitutionnelle ou collection des ouvrages publiés sur le gouvernement représentatif par Benjamin Constant, 2nd edn (Paris, 1872), vol. II, p. 547Google Scholar
Cornette, Joël in La Monarchie entre Renaissance et Révolution, 1515–1792 (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2000), pp. 195–199Google Scholar
Cornette, , Le Roi de guerre: Essai sur la souveraineté dans la France du grand siècle (Paris: Payot, 1993)Google Scholar
Burke, Peter, The Fabrication of Louis XIV (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992)Google Scholar
Thomas, Yan, “L'Institution de la majesté,” and Gérard Sabatier, “Les rois de représentation. Image et pouvoir (XVIe–XVIIe siècle),” Revue de synthèse, nos. 3–4 (July–Dec. 1991)Google Scholar
Blythe, James M., Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mann, Thomas, Betrachtungen ein Unpolitischen (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1983)Google Scholar
Oakeshott, Michael, The Politics of Faith and the Politics of Scepticism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996)Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats