Embedded and Defected Democrats Cover Image

Ukotvljene i manjkave demokracije
Embedded and Defected Democrats

Author(s): Wolfgang Merkel
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Fakultet političkih znanosti u Zagrebu
Keywords: democracy; embedded democracy; defective democracy; partial regime; electoral regime; political freedoms; civil rights; division of power; real governing power; civil society;

Summary/Abstract: The studies of the third wave of democratization have shown the necessity for a more precise differentiation of forms of democracy, since the definition of democracy exclusively on the basis of pluralist elections has proved lacking. The author also thinks that the instruments of quantitative evaluation of democracies (e.g. the very popular Freedom House index) are not sufficient, primarily because the quantification is not theoretically sound enough and includes a huge dose of arbitrariness. Contrary to this, the author spells out his concept of embedded and defective democracy. Starting from the terminological suggestion by Philippe Schmitter and the systemic-theoretical description of Niklas Luhmann’s intra-systemic communication, the functionally embedded democracy can be defined as a relationship of interdependence and mutual support of five partial regimes of democracy: electoral regime, political freedoms, civil rights, horizontal accountability and the real governing power. Apart from these five partial regimes, whose stable interrelationship is a prerequisite for the internal embeddedness of democracy, there are some external democracy-fostering conditions: the high level of socio-economic development, the integration into the democratically-oriented international economic and political alliances and the vital civil society. The author puts particular emphasis on the importance of the latter since it is not a part of the democratic political system but a way of organizing a non-state sphere of individual and group activity for the protection of individual rights, safeguarding the rule of law, the political socialization and the institutionalization of the public as the medium of democratic self-reflexion. And finally, the main types of defective democracy are outlined – the exclusive, the domain, the nonliberal and the delegative – as well as the key reasons underlying these deficits.

  • Issue Year: XLI/2004
  • Issue No: 03
  • Page Range: 80-104
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: Croatian