1st Edition

Democracy in Theory and Practice

Edited By Stephen Elstub Copyright 2012
    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    Democracy is an issue of major importance in theory and practice in politics throughout the world. However, democracy’s study and advancement has been significantly compromised by a dichotomy between theorising about democracy, and empirical studies of democracy in practice. In addition to highlighting the need for this gap to be overcome, this book contributes to overcoming this divide, by demonstrating a number of ways that democracy in theory and practice can be synthesised; deepening our understanding of the relationship between democracy in theory and practice in the process. Different, but related, democratic principles and concepts are considered such as legitimacy, political equality, deliberation, and participation. A range of practical contexts are also investigated including multi-level polities, deeply divided societies, whole polities, local rural and urban areas, and a range of democratic processes, innovations and spectacular events. Moreover, the book sets the agenda for future work to combine democracy in theory and practice.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Representation.

    1. Democracy in Theory and Practice Stephen Elstub, University of the West of Scotland

    2. Complex Legitimacy in Compound Polities: The EU as Example Veit Bader, University of Amsterdam

    3. Democratic Theory and Practice in Deeply Divided Societies Ian O’Flynn, Newcastle University

    4. A Tension Between Ideal and Practice: Re-evaluation of Micro and Macro Models of Deliberation Zsuzsanna Chappell, London School of Economics

    5. Linking Micro Deliberative Democracy and Decision-Making: Trade-Offs Between Theory and Practice in a Partisan Citizen Forum Stephen Elstub, University of the West of Scotland

    6. Citizen Participation in East Manchester: From Practice to Theory Georgina Blakely and Brendan Evans Open University

    7. Making Democracy Spectacular Nick Mahony Open University

    8. Where Now for Democratic Theory and Practice? Stephen Elstub, University of the West of Scotland


    Stephen Elstub is a Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of the West of Scotland. His research is on the cusp between democracy in theory and practice, with a particular focus on institutionalising deliberative democracy. He is the author of Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy (EUP 2008), and the co-editor of 'Deliberative Democracy: Issues and Cases' (forthcoming, EUP 2013).