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Democracy, Agency, and the StateTheory with Comparative Intent$
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Guillermo O'Donnell

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587612.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Democracy, Agency, and the State
Author(s):

Guillermo O'Donnell (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587612.003.0001

Based on a discussion of influential conceptions of democracy, this chapter proposes a definition of a democratic regime (or political democracy) which state that a democratic regime consists of reasonably fair elections and includes the right to vote and eventually be elected, and some surrounding ‘political freedoms’. It argues that, even though these are indispensable components, democracy includes other elements. The discussion of the undecidability of those freedoms, of the universalistic wager that is entailed by fair elections, of various aspects of the state that an attentive eye discovers under the formal characteristics of the regime, and of the agent that underlies the citizen that grounds democracy as its basic unit, or micro foundation, opens various avenues of inquiry that are pursued in the rest of the book.

Keywords:   agency, democratic regime, polyarchy, political rights, institutionalization, universalistic wager, the state

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