Degrees of Democraticity

12 Pages Posted: 18 May 2011 Last revised: 18 Jun 2011

See all articles by Lars Bergstrom

Lars Bergstrom

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 10, 2011


People have tended to load their different conceptions of democracy with their own political ideals; in this paper it is argued that normative and definitional questions should rather be separated, so that political philosophers and political scientists may adopt the same concept of democracy, even if they disagree normatively or politically. Moreover, it is argued that we should replace an absolute notion of democracy by a relativized notion, which allows for different degrees of democraticity. This facilitates the separation of normative and conceptual issues and it is convenient in contexts in which “democratic deficits” are discussed – as e.g. when democracy is to be implemented on a supranational level. Moreover, it has the consequence that democratic deficits are not necessarily bad.

Keywords: Alf Ross, Changes of Power, Corruption, Democracy, Discrimination, Ideal Type, Individual Rights, Representation, Subsidiarity

Suggested Citation

Bergstrom, Lars, Degrees of Democraticity (May 10, 2011). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Lars Bergstrom (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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