Democratic Theory in Flux

Political Participation
Political Theory
Normative Theory
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Jenni Marianne Rinne
University of Helsinki
Panel Discussant
André Bächtiger
Universität Stuttgart
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07/09/2017 15:50
Building: BL07 P.A. Munchs hus Floor: 1 Room: PAM SEM1
Can empirical research “prove” democratic theory wrong? Is democratic theory falling behind empirical work (i.e. is there a gap between normative theories and empirical research; is this kind of dualist approach even valid)? What can be achieved by promoting dialogue between theoretical and empirical approaches to studies on democracy?

Democratic theories make assumptions about the human mind and about human behavior. As they claim to come back with the best possible answer about how we ought to live together, democratic theories are conceived normative. But do these normative accounts and commitments align with empirical realities?

Theory guides our thinking on questions relating to foundations of democratic rule: democratic principles such as democratic rights. Empirical work confirms or disconfirms certain democratic theories. Empirical advancements provide new insight to the core questions of democratic theories. For example, empirical findings have challenged theoretical claims, revealed shortcomings, and opened new avenues for theoretical exploration. Together, theoretical and empirical research tell us more about democracy than each does apart. It is necessary, however, to connect them in useful ways.

We invite theoretical as well as empirical papers discussing this empirical-normative paradigm with a wide range of topics relating to alleged flux of contemporary democracies battling with global predicaments of inequality, biases and bubbles, the rise of nationalist populism, and seemingly “irrational” voter behavior.

Paper List

Deliberative Democracy for Realists View Paper Details
How should Democratic Theory relate to Empirical Research? View Paper Details
Liquid Separation of Powers and Politics in Central Europe View Paper Details
No Strings Attached: The Concept of Representation in Deliberative Mini-publics View Paper Details
Plebiscitary Leader Democracy in Theory and Practice: Weber and his Unconscious Disciples View Paper Details
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"Nothing in politics is ever as good or bad as it first appears" - Edward Boyle

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