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3 - End of Democracy or Recurrent Conflict: Minimalist Democracy, Legitimacy Crisis, and Political Equality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2022

Richard Ned Lebow
Affiliation:
King's College London
Ludvig Norman
Affiliation:
Stockholms Universitet
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Summary

This chapter criticizes the strand of recent political science and political theory that claims liberal democracy is under threat from illiberal populism and that this is a wholly unique phenomenon of the present rather than part of recurrent crisis of liberal democracy tied to the political sociology of the Schumpeterian competitive party model. Viewed this way, this crisis is in fact a result of the failure of liberal democracy to offer citizens a defensible principle of legitimacy based on a robust notion political equality, the core principle of democracy. Precisely, what appears to be the source of its robustness, the competitive process of parties and politicians for the popular vote is—when viewed as a recurrent struggle to bring this model back under the control of citizens—the very source of its frailty. The dichotomy liberal democracy-populism blinds us in assessing the actual developments arising from the fragility of liberal democracy. Indeed, it may inform responses that will lead to outcomes quite at odds with the original intentions of those who deploy it.

Type
Chapter
Information
Robustness and Fragility of Political Orders
Leader Assessments, Responses, and Consequences
, pp. 54 - 91
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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