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Beyond The Happy Consensus About Democratic Elitism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter challenges the view that democratic elitism is a coherent theory. It shows that it papers over three distinct models of representation and democratic control: the mandate, accountability, and authorization models. Although they address the same institutional framework, the three models depict the distribution of control between political elites and voters in quite different ways. The chapter illustrates these differences by examining the arguments of each model's most prominent exponent-Robert A. Dahl, John Plamenatz, and Adam Przeworski, respectively. It also shows that different assumptions about the rationality, knowledge, and competence of voters and leaders explain much of the differences between them. The chapter considers the authorization model's proximity to the edge of democracy and its possible movement across the line that separates democratic and authoritarian rule. Specifically, the author asks if the model's authoritarian leanings void Carl Friedrich's rule of anticipated reactions.

Keywords: Carl Friedrich; democratic elitism; mandate model



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