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Democratic FailureNOMOS LXIII$
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Melissa Schwartzberg and Daniel Viehoff

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479804788

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479804788.001.0001

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Democracy As Failure

Democracy As Failure

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Democracy As Failure
Source:
Democratic Failure
Author(s):

Aziz Z. Huq

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479804788.003.0002

The theory and the practice of democracy alike are entangled with the prospect of failure. This is so in the sense that a failure of some kind is almost always to be found at democracy’s inception. Different kinds of shortfalls also dog its implementation. No escape is found in theory, which precipitates internal contradictions that can only be resolved by compromising important democratic values. The nexus of democracy and failure elucidates the difficulty of dichotomizing democracies into the healthy and the ailing. It illuminates the sound design of democratic institutions by gesturing toward resources usefully deployed to mitigate the costs of inevitable failure. Finally, it casts light on the public psychology best adapted to persisting democracy. To grasp the proximity of democracy’s entanglements with failure is thus to temper the aspiration for popular self-government as a steady-state equilibrium, to open new questions about the appropriate political psychology for a sound democracy, and to limn new questions about democracy’s optimal institutional specification.

Keywords:   democracy, democratic failure, democratic institutions, popular self-government

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