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Political ideas, under international relations - Coursework Example

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Running Head: Direct and Representative Democracy Direct and Representative Democracy [The [The Name of the Institution] Direct and Representative Democracy Democracy, in Greek, is derived from demokratia, the root meanings of which are demos (people) and kratos (rule)…
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Political ideas, under international relations
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Political ideas, under international relations

It is perhaps better conceived as two aspects of the same thing that can not be separated with clear lines. First, it is a practice or method of government, a set of forms and procedures. Second, it relates to ends rather than means, to an ideal or set of ideals. A direct democracy is a political system in which all citizens are allowed to influence policy by means of a direct vote on any particular issue. However it is impracticable except in a very small polity. Even though it was practiced in Athens, it didn't involve all the people, only adult male citizens. Representative democracy can simply be defined as an indirect democracy in which the people do not themselves govern but elect representatives who govern them. As for the relation between electoral and representative democracy, it will suffice to note that the former is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition of the latter. This is also to say that the concept of representative democracy comprehends electoral democracy; but the reverse is not true. While modern democracies are jointly electoral and representative, an electoral democracy that does not elect representatives is a distinct possibility. The other two notions--direct democracy and referendum democracy--require a somewhat more detailed explication. Although a direct democracy can be simply defined a contrario, that is, as a democracy without representatives and without representational transmission belts, yet this specimen displays subspecies that command separate recognition. Any direct democracy is, in some sense, a self-governing democracy. But we know that the meaning of self-government crucially hinges on the size factor; (Banducci, 1998, 116) so does the meaning and reality of direct democracy. A literal, authentically self-governing direct democracy can be said to exist only with reference to relatively small groups--say, up to assembly-size groups. Beyond the assembly size, the most meaningful distinction is between observable direct democracy, and a direct democracy whose size escapes direct observability, that is, a greater than observable one. The democracy of the ancients qualifies as observable, for it resolved itself not only in the gathering of the citizens in a single place but in an observable behaviour of the participants. But the magnitude that allows for such observability is in the order of a few thousands. And that order of magnitude already brings about a great deal of indirectness in a direct democracy. Only in part was Greek democracy truly and authentically "direct." And when we come to a greater-than-observable direct democracy, what makes it direct is only, or basically, the inference that it is not a representative kind of democracy. The notion of referendum democracy will help to qualify this last assertion. The original idea of a representative was of a person elected to express or reflect the views of his constituents. (Raphael, 1990, 91) However, this does not seem possible, the representative needs to gather his constituents and get the view of them on every issue. Therefore the representative chosen is not obliged to mirror the ideas of his constituents rather he is elected as a man of good judgement. This is a doctrine often known as Edmund Burke's Principle, which states that representatives should act upon their own conscience in the affairs of a representative democracy. Nevertheless in practice, the inevitable rise of the well disciplined party system has caused representatives to decide under the ... Read More
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