Deepening democracy

The role of civil society

Authored by: Ian O’Flynn , David Russell

Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415476256
eBook ISBN: 9780203845493
Adobe ISBN: 9781136927577


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There is more to democracy than the responsibilities and decisions of elected representatives. This is as true for societies deeply divided along ethnic lines as for any other kind of society. Democracy means rule by the people, which, in turn, assumes that ordinary people can hold representatives to account and make them responsive to their preferences and opinions. Yet according to one reading of democracy, representatives need only be held accountable for the positions and policies they adopt at election time. If voters are dissatisfied with the way in which their interests have been served, they can use their franchise to register that dissatisfaction in the hope of bringing about a change of government (Schumpeter 1942; Riker 1982).

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