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Putting the Demos Back Into the Concept of Democratic Quality

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  • Mayne, Quinton
  • Geissel, Brigitte

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that the concept of democratic quality consists of two necessary, but independently insufficient, components. The first is an opportunity-structure component, which includes the institutional and structural opportunities that allow for democratic rule. The second is a citizen component, which refers to the ways in which citizens can and do breathe life into existing institutional opportunities for democratic rule. Based on work from political theory we show how different ontologies or models of democracy place different demands on citizens as much as they do on institutions. We demonstrate the need for quality-of-democracy research to engage with work in political behavior and political psychology, from which it has traditionally been disconnected. In doing so, we provide a parsimonious analytic framework for a theory-driven selection of indicators related to three key citizen dispositions: namely, democratic commitments, political capacities, and political participation. The paper ends with a brief discussion of important implications of our argument for the future study of democratic quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Mayne, Quinton & Geissel, Brigitte, 2016. "Putting the Demos Back Into the Concept of Democratic Quality," Scholarly Articles 25286593, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:25286593
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    Cited by:

    1. Dieter Fuchs & Edeltraud Roller, 2018. "Conceptualizing and Measuring the Quality of Democracy: The Citizens’ Perspective," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(1), pages 22-32.
    2. Quinton Mayne & Brigitte Geißel, 2018. "Don’t Good Democracies Need “Good” Citizens? Citizen Dispositions and the Study of Democratic Quality," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(1), pages 33-47.
    3. Svend-Erik Skaaning, 2018. "Different Types of Data and the Validity of Democracy Measures," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(1), pages 105-116.

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