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The Eyes of the PeopleDemocracy in an Age of Spectatorship$
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Jeffrey Edward Green

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372649.001.0001

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Popular Power in Sight

Popular Power in Sight

(p.201) 7 Popular Power in Sight
The Eyes of the People

Jeffrey Green (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter addresses the important question of how plebiscitarianism ought to be reconciled with traditional norms of participatory citizenship. Because the plebiscitarian principle of candor regulates leaders instead of everyday citizens — and because it refers to how leaders ought to appear, rather than how they are to decide the most pressing issues of the day — certain readers will object that plebiscitarianism is irresponsible or, in any case, of limited significance to citizens committed to using whatever influence they possess to serve and improve the common good. In response to these concerns, the chapter explains how plebiscitarian ethics plays three different roles for three distinct types of citizens. It supplies an ethical perspective to the passive spectator, supplements the ethical perspective of the active partisan, and supplants the ethical perspective of the democrat committed to popular sovereignty (redefining popular sovereignty in terms of candor rather than self-legislation). One's reception of plebiscitarianism depends, then, on a certain degree of self-knowledge about the type of citizen that one is.

Keywords:   plebiscitarianism, plebiscitary democracy, candor, participatory citizenship

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