Democracy: Method or Praxis?
AbstractDemocracy: Method or Praxis? SAGE Publications, Inc.1984DOI: 10.1177/072551368400900108 Patricia Springborg The debate over democracy in recent years ~ has resumed where Schumpeter2 left it, on the question whether democracy constitutes a phenomenon in its own right with the full range of conceptual, economic and institutional apparatuses, or whether democracy is rather a method or set of techniques which can be applied in widely different political contexts to regulate the struggle for power. The fact that political systems of such different character as the German Democratic Republic, Libya and the United States all claim to be democratic predisposes one to conclude the latter. Moreover recent theorists have come increasingly to characterize participatory democracy as a 'set of practices', which may or may not amount to the assertion that democracy is primarily a method. This is a question that advocates of socialist democracy cannot in fact avoid because of the deeper question that it conceals: that is, whether or not the 'beautiful democracy of Athens'3, as Hegel termed it, can ever be reconstituted in the modern world, or if in fact the sequence of Empires and absolute monarchies that intervened between fifth century Athens and the creation of liberal democracy