There is not one model of democracy, but there are several. These models differ in the emphasis they put on the different yardsticks that are used to assess the quality of democratic processes. We look first at different understandings of democracy and the principal elements underlying them, notably representation, responsiveness, accountability, and legitimacy. Evaluations of the rise of diploma democracy may vary greatly, depending on the way these different yardsticks are perceived. Then we address how the democratic expansion in the past decades has opened up new opportunities for many citizens to participate and to voice concerns. Yet, as we shall show in the book, this has at the same time closed down opportunities for other citizens to influence decision-making, and paved the way for a diploma democracy.
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