Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Protest and DissentNOMOS LXII$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Melissa Schwartzberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810512

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810512.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 13 April 2021

Are Protests Good or Bad for Democracy?

Are Protests Good or Bad for Democracy?

(p.269) 10 Are Protests Good or Bad for Democracy?
Protest and Dissent

Susan Stokes

NYU Press

Theorists disagree with one another about whether protests have beneficial or nefarious effects on democracy. I argue that protests can act as a corrective to several flaws in electoral democracy as a mechanism of representation and accountability. Protests can open participation to non-citizens and semi-citizens. They can introduce greater equality of citizen influence on governments. And they can help circumvent problems of voter myopia and of the multidimensionality of issues in elections. These beneficial effects are balanced against some threats to democratic practices of protests which critics correctly identify: their weakness as forums for deliberation, their potential to thwart legislation and actions of representative institutions, and their potential to oust elected governments. It’s unimaginable that a free society would ban protests; but organizers should consider ways of improving the deliberative quality of demonstrations and refrain from interrupting what may be delicate electoral equilibria.

Keywords:   protests, elections, democracy, democratic theory, citizen, political equality

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.