Concepts of democracy

The classical definition of democracy. Typical theoretical models of democracy. The political content of democracy. Doctrine of liberal and pluralistic democracy. Concept of corporate political science and other varieties of proletarian democracy.

Рубрика Политология
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Язык русский
Дата добавления 13.05.2011
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  • The main part. The political content of democracy
  • Doctrine of liberal and pluralistic democracy
  • Concept of corporate political science, and other varieties of proletarian democracy
  • Conclusions


Home contradiction of democracy - a contradiction between the idea of democracy as the authority of the people and the impossibility of its practical implementation. The famous British philosopher Karl Popper believed democracy is not only impossible but also irrelevant. Indeed, democracy in its direct sense (as direct people power) is impossible even purely technically, because there are no mechanisms to provide direct narodopravstvo with any government issue at all levels. Moreover, such narodopravstvo inappropriate and in terms of efficiency of state power, since the absolute majority of people incompetent in dealing with specific cases of government and society. Moreover, the ruling majority, as people in general, under certain conditions may be as a tyrant, as sole despot.

In the western world today many common conception of democracy. All of them one way or the extent take into account the nature of society as a post. Most political analysts based on the fact that the fundamental characteristic of democracy is open decision-making through representative government, that this process at any level is the participation of elected representatives of the people. Democracy, which exist today in the western world, anyway partly based on the principles of classical liberal democracy that emerged in the eighteenth century. Through a long search found a political thought in her form of government that is best designed to combine the freedom, democracy and law.

In an ideal democracy understand that its current standard by which assess various forms of democratic governance. It is the starting point for the "construction" of various concepts (in theory) and different models (in practice) democratic system. Depending on how people imagine themselves to the democratic ideal that the most value and why accentuate the notion of democracy depends on their commitment to certain concepts or certain kinds of democracy.

The main part. The political content of democracy

The concept of democracy has been two and a half thousand years. In different centuries in the history of political thought was given to the term ambiguous interpretation. With the complication of political stratification and pictures on her political doctrines that appeal to democracy, the latter took on various interpretations.

However, there are similarities, that allow to determine the general features that characterize this or that system as democratic, and in particular on quantitative parameters - as more democratic or less democratic.

The classical definition of democracy is inextricably linked to its etymological origin. The term comes from the Greek word, which in turn consists of two words: demos - the people and kratos - the power of government. Born in antiquity, democracy literally means "people power" or "the people" [4].

In political science the term "democracy" is used in four senses:

how people power;

as a form of structure of any organization based on principles of equality of its members, selectivity and decision making by majority (party-Profsoyuzna, youth, etc.);

as an ideal social order and its associated worldview and value system;

as a movement for democracy (social democratic, Christian democratic, etc.) [2].

However, over the longer one century in the history of political thought in the concept of "nation" by different authors, academic schools and concepts fit different meaning. The same can be said about the different interpretations of the mechanism of democracy.comparison of democratic practice to the concepts of democracy shows that the latter, on the one hand, often followed the empirical material, on the other - have sought to develop an ideal model of democratic system which takes into account the experience of the historical development of its negative and positive effects. Therefore, if you deeply analyze the essence of democracy, it would bring under real political system with the real needs of social development.

All this necessitates Typing theoretical models of democracy, which in turn resulted in a real practice of political development. One of the first attempts typification of these models was made by Canadian political scientist S. McPherson. Explorer problem is the English political scientist J. Held, who in his work "model of democracy" singled out different types of democracy: classical, ancient democracy (democracy in ancient Greece, Athenian democracy), republicanism (republicanism in ancient Rome and the medieval city Republic), the protective democracy, democracy, developing the theory of mortality of state (Marx); elitaryzm competitive, pluralistic democracy, democratic theory partitsypatornoyi; legal model of democracy [4].

If talking is that the historical genesis of democracy a long and controversial. Born in ancient Greece the idea of democracy is not found there ardent supporters among philosophers. Concept of the brightest representatives of the time of Plato and Aristotle were based on the opposition between "right" and "distorted" forms of government and power. Democracy they zarahovuvaly to "distorted" form. In the next century as dominated skeptical of democracy. After the French bourgeois revolution, it became clear that democracy is the way it is more reasonable political and social organization of society, the state government. In the nineteenth century. in a democracy had its ups and downs, but in general, to it was negative. After the publication of the Alexis de Tocqueville's book (1805-1859)"Democracy in America" began to form positive attitudes to democracy. In the early twentieth century. practically no time left political doctrines, including Bolshevism and fascism, which is based in their ideological constructions not be laid for democracy all sorts. After the 1917 revolution in Russia was proclaimed a dictatorship of the proletariat as a higher type of proletarian democracy.

Great significance in strengthening the modern norms of democracy played Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN (1948), Helsinki Meeting (1975), the human rights movement in post-socialist countries, the Paris meeting of the heads of European governments and adopted its "Charter of Paris for a New Europe " (1990) [5, 421].

One of the basic principles of democracy is the principle of majority. Majority rule is the essence of the doctrine of popular sovereignty, under which the people declared source of supreme power in a democratic society. Democracy presupposes free activities of all political parties, socio-political associations, organizations, movements, acting within the law. For democratic government characterized by multi.

An important attribute of democracy - the principle of separation of powers in the system of government. According to this principle of legislative, executive and judiciary are separate and quite independent of one another. However, they constantly interact and counterbalance one another. The indispensable condition of democracy is transparency of all activities of state bodies, political parties and public organizations. The independent status of the media - is also an attribute of a democratic society.

In a democratic society a significant role in the system of government is given to local government, is a rational division of competence and powers of various levels of government. That local government closest to the people and of its action depends on the daily lives of citizens. Therefore, the degree of democratic society is measured by the fact that the status and scope of local authorities, as well as its level of accessibility for people [1, 125].

In our work we are not able to examine in detail all the concepts of democracy. Therefore, we will cover only those concepts that are associated with the theory and practice of modern democracy that goes back to the XVII-XVIII centuries.

Doctrine of liberal and pluralistic democracy

In public consciousness of democracy is equated with democracy. This form of government in terms of the mechanism of expression of popular sovereignty serves as a direct and representative democracy. The first involves the direct expression of associations of individuals - government officials - or those of the life of this association, such as the referendum. Apparatus of power will take the role of organizer and guarantor of the general will. It is determined by people power takes the political decision, specifying and protecting the public will. Representative democracy assumes that the main decisions taken by the authorized representatives of the People's Assembly (parliament, the National Assembly, the Congress) are elected government officials. This representative institutions, their activities are controlled by associations [7, 215].

Different theoretical solution contradictions between the ideal of democracy and its reality is meaning the existence of diverse concepts of democracy. Historically, the first such concept and form of its practical implementation was a classical liberal democracy, which is the most comprehensive measure is based on the principles of democracy (equality, freedom, popular participation in state government, majoritarism, civic consensus, elected government, protection of minorities).

The main idea of liberalism - the idea of ?individual freedom. According to her liberal democracy to the forefront of putting civil liberties like privacy of an individual's independence from political power. Ensuring civil freedom is based primarily on the implementation of individual rights and freedoms of the individual: the right to life and personal immunity, freedom and resistance to violence, property rights and free economic activity, freedom of private life - the inviolability of home and privacy of correspondence, freedom of movement and choice accommodation and so on. But the presence of individual political rights and freedoms gives him the opportunity to participate in the exercise of state power to influence the state to meet the personal and common interests and needs.

Liberal democracy does not deny the will of the people directly, but prefer representative democracy that allows the most complete way to combine the ideal of democracy and the possibility of its practical implementation. Accordingly, democracy understood as a responsible government, government can make decisions and bear responsibility for them. The main elements of representative democracy, constitutionality and defined limits of political domination. So called liberal democracy still a constitutional democracy in which the will of the people shown do not fully and openly, directly, but delegated to representatives who are in the process of political decision-making that will express themselves and under own responsibility.

The essence of liberal democracy in concentrated form was reflected in the proposed U. S. President Abraham Lincoln's formula: government of the people, by the people, for the people (government of the people, elected by the people and for people).

Characterized by emphasis on individual freedom of liberalism leads to social polarization of society, the aggravation of class struggle, generates political instability, etc. [6].

Designed to overcome the shortcomings of liberalism concept of a pluralistic democracy (from Lat. Pluralis - plural) as a kind of modern liberal democracy. Such a democracy is based on consideration of all the plurality, diversity of social interests. The main feature is its open nature of decision-making through representative government. Adoption of the authorities or those making under such conditions is the result of interaction and competition among various political forces, especially political parties and diverse interest groups.

The concept of a pluralistic democratic political system of society is considered as a mechanism that balances the interests of class, ethnic, demographic, professional, regional, religious and similar groups and organizations. Each of them affects the policy-making, but none have a monopoly. There dribnennya political power between state and public institutions. Various social interests, the interests of workers zokremai so closely considered. If it is any social group believes that what politics does not correspond to its interests, it has the ability to pursue an open discussion of relevant issues and take the necessary political decisions.

concept democracy political proletarian

The concept of a pluralist democracy was the most powerful in the 60's - early 70's of XX century. At first glance, pluralistic democracy - a democracy for all. However, it is not devoid of some drawbacks. One of them is that for the interests and needs of certain social groups such as youth, women or the poorest, a real equal opportunities for their participation in the exercise of state power to these groups to provide certain benefits and privileges. But fixing any privileges and benefits for these or those social groups contradicts one of the basic principles of democracy - equality of all citizens before the law. Expansion of actual equality jeopardizes a fundamental principle of democracy as freedom.

In addition, the concept of pluralistic democracy absolyutyzuye opportunities for political representation of social interests through political parties and organizations as diverse interest groups. Ordinary members of parties and NGOs really play a secondary role in them, and the main decisions adopted by their leaders, and not always for the same rank and file members.

Finally, the facility itself is unreal conception of pluralist democracy that the whole population will be represented in the parties and interest groups, these associations are equal in their political influence. The greatest influence on policy in countries with developed market economies have a variety of business entities, especially national, sectoral and cross-industry associations. They have tremendous material and financial resources to influence the authorities. Appreciable influence on politics and trade unions have, which are the most massive organizations of employees.

One of the attempts to get out of the contradictions of the theory of pluralist democracy is the theory formulated by R. Dahl polyarchy - a multiplicity of power centers, and hence the elite groups in a democratic society. This implies that instead of a single center of sovereign power should be plurality of such centers, none of which can not be fully sovereign. Democratic is a system where the government dispersed power in contrast to the few - the dictatorship.

R. Dahl believes that the term "democracy" is suitable only for the characteristics of an ideal society. Valid state system that approaches the ideal state - a polyarchy. Of course, such a system is not without faults compared with democracy. But it is better than most unlimited authority or power elite. Overall, according to Robert Dahl, Democracy and autocracy is more or less theoretical education. In final form, they actually never been implemented.

Polyarchy doctrine comes from the fact that, according to the requirements of liberal democracy, consensus and political equality must be active and such developing countries. To do this, every citizen should have an inalienable right to formulate and demonstrate publicly whom he prefers. That is what increases the possibility of guaranteeing equality in the governance of society.

Polyarchy enhances and complements the principles of democracy. Office of the majority is due to the improvement of people's representation, stronger guarantees of minority rights, the use of electoral and other devices to control the majority of representatives, eliminating various kinds of political inequality [4].

Concept of corporate political science, and other varieties of proletarian democracy

Growing political influence of business associations and trade unions led to the emergence of the concept of corporate democracy. Corporation (from Lat. Corporatio - Association) - a collection of individuals united through guild, caste, commercial and other interests. In Western countries known corporations, including joint stock companies, trade associations and organizations of local authorities (municipalities). According to the concept of corporate democracy policy should be made with the state and the limited number of most popular and influential organizations, especially business associations and trade unions as to express the interests of the general population. This policy was called the policy of social partnership and tripartism. In many Western countries created based on representation of entrepreneurs, trade unions and the state special trypartystski bodies that define the basic parameters of socio-economic strategy of the state.

The content of the concept of corporate democracy is close to the concept of pluralistic democracy. The main difference between them is that pluralistic democracy involves political representation of all the diversity of social interests, and corporate democracy is a limit of only the most powerful unions. If proponents of pluralist democracy believe that the optimal impact on national policies have a varied group of competing interests, corporate supporters of democracy recognize such an impact only a limited number of organizations that do not compete, but cooperate under state control. Under such conditions, corporate acquire exclusive rights to political representation, not only members of these associations and other groups. Given that in Western countries more than half of employees are not members of trade unions, it means that they have their own political representation in corporate democracy.

The main feature of the Marxist notion of democracy is to consider it in close connection with the material conditions of society and its class structure. Marxism believes that the class society is an expression of democracy dictatorship economically ruling class. Under exploitative system - slave, feudal and bourgeois - served as the institutions of democracy and serve the class, in whose hands were and are the means of production: slave, feudal and bourgeois.

Marxism at the same time believes that bourgeois democracy is the most developed historical type of democracy is exploitative society that put an end to absolutism and formally declared the most important rights and freedoms of individuals.

The highest type of political democracy, Marxism recognizes socialist or proletarian democracy. The main difference from the bourgeois socialist democracy is seen that it is the power of most of society - workers (the dictatorship of the proletariat), directed against the exploiting minority, while bourgeois democracy is the power a small minority - the owners of the means of production. Socialist democracy is based on public ownership of means of production, serving the economic basis for establishing social equality of people and their true freedom as liberation from capitalist exploitation. It is believed that unlike the bourgeois democratic socialist democracy is not only proclaims the freedom of political and socio-economic rights, but also guarantees them safe. Along with the representative democracy of socialism by using different forms of direct democracy, which finds expression in the activity of NGOs in the system of control, in practice, most public discussion of draft laws, etc.

The real socialism established by authority of the people do not, and absolute power of one political party, which is due to non-democratic construction of the party is turning into absolute power of party leadership. Socialist democracy denies the separation of powers. Executive authorities though popularly elected, but under strict party control [6].

Besides these, in democratic theory, there are also other concepts of democracy: market, plebistsytarna consensus (the community) and others. A separate group is elitist conception of democracy as an attempt to combine incompatible at first glance, the theory of democracy and theory of elites.

Since concordant pluralist theory of democracy elitist conception of democracy. The political elite is defined as an independent, privileged group or set of groups directly linked to domination or pressure on the government. Predecessors of modern democracy were elitist Plato, Karleyl, Nietzsche and others. Modern classical concept of the elite were formulated in the early twentieth century. V. Pareto, G. Dep, P. Michels. The most common traits shared by elite theory are:

division of society into elite and mass;

interpretation of political inequality as the basis of social life;

knowledge of power supplies due to the "chosen minority;

consideration of social history as a set of cycles, characterized by the domination of certain types of elites.

Thus, elitist concept of democracy says that the ideal of democracy in modern times (still) not implemented substantially. The people representing political power in the ruling elite [2].

One of the varieties of elitism adversarial model is the theory of democracy plebistsytarnoyi M. Weber. According to the logic of reasoning veberskyh representation in parliament of individual independent deputies in the development of liberal democracy is gradually being replaced by political parties. The latter, in turn, produce a single direction and establish strict discipline, becoming a bureaucratic organization. Power remains in the parties in those who regularly worked in the party apparatus and eventually concentrates in professional politicians. This party sets the machine control mechanism over their supporters, including here and members of parliament. The result is a system where parties dominate parliament and the leaders dominate the party. "This circumstance, - noted M. Weber - is of particular importance for the selection of leaders of the party. Becomes the leader of only one particular and across the head of parliament who is subject machine. In other words, the creation of such machines means domination plebistsytarnoyi democracy" [1, 218]

As an alternative against the elitist conception of democracy is the theory partitsypatsiynoyi democracy. By "partitsypatsiyeyu in western political science understood all kinds of participation (voluntary and involuntary) in political life to influence and pressure on decision-making power. The authors interpret the concept of the necessity of most people not only in election campaigns, referendums, but in other kinds of political process, including the formation of power groups and the nomination of political leaders. German political scientists Huhhenberher B. and D. Nolen partitsypatsiynoyi consider the theory of democracy as one of the following critical democratic theory in its center - an analysis of political reality from the perspective of the ideal of individual self-determination and autonomy of the individual targeting [5, 423].

The concept of democracy is closely adjacent poliarhichnoyi communitarian model of democracy, ie a model of democratic development in several countries, different polysyllabic nature of social structure in which society is divided into many segments. This model of society differs by two main features: vertical segmentation of the population into different linguistic, ethnic, racial or ideological community; institutionalize the process of interaction, which is at the elite communities.

Theoretical model of communitarian democracy was developed by American researcher A. Leyphartom Dutch origin. Based on empirical research in comparative politics political experience of some countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland) AG Leyphart questioned the typology of political systems G. Almond, associated mainly with homogeneous or heterogeneous cultures. If Anglo-American system is characterized by uniformity, European continental systems differ fragmentation of political culture. The latter may be a factor in political instability in the society [3, 284].

In the kaleidoscope of political theories of democracy there is also the economic theory of democracy. It is based on image rights fully informed, talented and act rationally to achieve maximum benefit for themselves. Economic democracy - a realm of market relations, which reduced the political and power relations. Liberal-minded theorists and politicians connected tie together democracy and market. American President Bill Clinton called modern western democracy market democracy.

Thus, the analysis of contemporary theoretical concepts of democracy shows the diversity of approaches to the definition of democracy. Each direction has a conceptual and normative character, that characterizes this or that kind of democracy in the ideal. However, theoretical analysis based on actual experience - an empirical approach [7, 218].


Democracy - the most civilized and developed a political profile. Most modern population of the world deeply and consciously perceived support democratic values and ideals. To develop, democratic forms of political life needed social, economic and cultural base. Without them in the political process is undemocratic forms. This is - first, a high level of economic development, diversity of ownership, the presence of a developed market, competitive producers. In fact, democracy itself resembles a political market with its competition of ideas, programs and positions. Second, a high degree of political culture. Culture and society in general, especially in political life, is a powerful catalyst for democratic processes.

When all possible deviations from the trend among leading public increasingly confirms the understanding of the universality of the principles and values of liberal democracy. The realization that democracy - is not only the traditional set of principles of parliamentarism, pluralism and multiparty system. This is the first real democracy. Last comes only when democracy grows from the bottom, not imposed from above, when a deputy for each of imperative mandate is actually united by common interests group of people - self-governing collective labor, government committees neighborhood association of consumers, trade unions, etc. All this requires an appropriate political and civic culture in particular, genuine civil society and many other conditions which provides a lot of effort by the political forces of national revival.

With Ukraine, here as in other post-totalitarian, post-communist countries, the strengthening of liberal democracy - taking into account national traditions - a long and difficult Liberal democracy is impossible without the development of an appropriate political elite to ensure its interaction with the institutions of democracy.

Discrepancy between institutional and procedural areas of popular culture, society or it shape the political values as the periodic crises in developed democracies, and the inconsistency and contradictions of democratization in transitional societies. Similarly, many existing models of democracy or to emphasize some of the above aspects of democracy, or on certain values (eg value of political competition J. Schumpeter).

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