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definitions of democracy
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The ‘will of the people’? It’s the bastardisation of democracy

The ‘will of the people’? It’s the bastardisation of democracy [First published by The Conversation, this article was co-authored with Mark Chou.] The Abbott government, when faced with opposition over the past year, has commonly resorted to two lifeline statements. The first is that it’s carrying out the “will of the people”. And the second is […]

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Democracy needs heroes to champion the cause

Democracy needs heroes to champion the cause [Originally published by The Conversation, co-authored with Mark Chou and Octavia Bryant.] Laureates, like symbolic ambassadors and commissioners, draw attention to causes and issues that we, as a society, consider to be of widespread importance. In various parts of the world, medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature, peace, poetry, children, writing, research and human rights all have the dedicated service of […]

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Supplement A: 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy's Ontological Pluralism

Supplement A: 2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism [This is the first supplement to the research note “2,234 Descriptions of Democracy” first published in Democratic Theory.] Evidence in support of the claim “over the last two hundred years it has been noted that there are many . . . ways to […]

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2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy's Ontological Pluralism

2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism [This research note was first published in Democratic Theory. It is accompanied by three appendices: A (appendix a), B (appendix b), and C (appendix c).] Citation guide: Jean-Paul Gagnon. 2018. “2,234 Descriptions of Democracy: An Update to Democracy’s Ontological Pluralism”. Democratic Theory, 5(2): 92-113. Abstract: […]

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Should Australia lower the voting age to 16?

Should Australia lower the voting age to 16? [I was invited by The Conversation to answer this question. I, and the other four commentators (Helen Berents, Philippa Collin, Lisa Hill, and Louise Phillips) said yes.] The Conversation: Voting is a key part of the democratic process. It allows all citizens of a certain age to […]

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Little Phil: Changing the Relationship between Philanthropy and Democracy?

Little Phil: Changing the Relationship between Philanthropy and Democracy? [This practitioner’s note first appears in Democratic Theory. I was, before running into Little Phil and its co-founder Joshua Murchie, reading into the relationship between “big philanthropy” and (usually) US-American democracy (perhaps due to the level of very wealthy people in that country and their histories […]

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The Impossibility of ‘Knowing’ Democracy

The Impossibility of ‘Knowing’ Democracy [This conversation with John Dunn took place in his office at King’s College, Cambridge University, an video of which can be found here. The talk was first published in the book Democratic Theorists in Conversation: Turns in Contemporary Thought.] Defining democracy Gagnon: How do you define democracy? Dunn: Well, I […]

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Enlivening the Democratic Imagination

Enlivening the Democratic Imagination [This conversation with John Keane was first published in the book Democratic Theorists in Conversation: Turns in Contemporary Thought.] Defining democracy Gagnon: How do you define democracy? Keane: My conjecture is that, in matters of democracy, we are living in a period that resembles the end of the eighteenth century and […]

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Certain Turns of Modernity in Democratic Theory

Certain Turns of Modernity in Democratic Theory [This conversation with Pierre Rosanvallon was held in French, over the phone, and translated by Phil Paine. It first appears in the book Democratic Theorists in Conversation: Turns in Contemporary Thought.] Defining democracy Gagnon: What is your conception of democracy? Rosanvallon: The a priori definition of democracy is […]

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Twists of Democratic Governance

Twists of Democratic Governance [This conversation was first published in the book Democratic Theorists in Conversation: Turns in Contemporary Thought.] Defining democracy Gagnon: How do you conceptualize democracy? Dryzek: First of all I should say that I do not particularly like foundational philosophical questions and I’m not very good at dealing with conceptualizing democracy at […]

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