Feminist Engagements with Democratic Theory

Authored by: Noëlle McAfee

The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138795921
eBook ISBN: 9781315758152
Adobe ISBN:


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Democratic theory is manifold; there are those who think of democracy as a representative form of government and those who think of it as direct self-rule. There are those who think of it in empirical terms—for example, charting out the rise and fall of successful democratic regimes (Diamond 2015)—and those who prefer to inquire about the norms that ought to be followed for democracy to work. An empirical focus on democracy zeroes in on the facts on the ground, including people’s actual interests, levels of participation and representation, that is, the actual workings of democratic communities. The normative approach focuses not on what is, but on what ought to be, that is, the proper principles and methods that would be most democratic, and what the ideals of democracy ought to be.

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