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Strong ConstitutionsSocial-Cognitive Origins of the Separation of Powers$
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Maxwell Cameron

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199987443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199987443.001.0001

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Electronic Media, Mass Politics, and Electoral Democracy

Electronic Media, Mass Politics, and Electoral Democracy

(p.108) 5 Electronic Media, Mass Politics, and Electoral Democracy
Strong Constitutions

Maxwell A. Cameron

Oxford University Press

Marx, Durkheim and Weber overturned classical ideas about law and politics dating from Aristotle to Montesquieu. For turn-of-the-century social theorists, the separation of powers was as an epiphenomenal reflection of class struggles, part of a larger evolutionary process, or a feeble bulwark against the terrifying consequences of such processes. In “totalitarian” states, party monopolies were created that used the awesome power of modern bureaucracies, with science and advanced technology at their disposal, to shape and control opinion through propaganda and surveillance. Even within democratic states, the spread of administration and the expansion of welfare functions seemed to undermine the separation of powers. By the mid-twentieth century, a more “realistic” theory of electoral democracy emerged that downplayed the role of deliberation and notions of the public good. Drawing an analogy between politics and markets, the separation of powers was replaced by the idea of equilibrium.

Keywords:   Social question, social theory, totalitarianism, electoral democracy, mass media, party

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