The  Social is Essential: Democracy and Democratization Revisited
This paper problematizes the value and impact of social elements of democracy and democratization. In the first part, I will examine the limits of the liberal and republican paradigms of democracy; I will propose that two social elements of democracy – societal empowerment and social justice are central to the success and consolidation of a substantive democracy. I shall examine Jurgen Habermas’s concept of “deliberative democracy” to explore the social aspects of democracy. In the second part, I will examine two major theoretical trends in the democratization literature: structural theories and the actor-centred theories. I will argue that a third alternative approach better acknowledges the social elements of democratization. This integrative approach keeps an equal distance from vulgar voluntarism and structural determinism; it successfully synthesizes dialectical relations between structure and agency, “causes” and “causers,” and social and political factors/actors. It underlines the value and impact of social movements in democratization. The conclusion argues that why and how the social is essential in the origin and success of democracy and democratization.
Political International Researches, Volume:3 Issue: 6, 2011
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