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Democratic elitism and western political thought (2009)

Die Theorie der demokratischen Elitenherrschaft und das westliche Politikverständnis
[journal article]

Higley, John

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Abstract "Many political thinkers have viewed democratic elitism as closing a democratic road they believe is or should be open-ended. Their view of democratic possibilities reflects the auspicious circumstances of Western societies during the past several centuries and especially since World War II. However, it involves a conflation of liberal and democratic values. I examine why and how this has occurred, and I argue that liberal and democratic values must be more clearly separated in today's dangerous world. In step with Schumpeter, democracy must be regarded as a method or instrumental value that in some but by no means all circumstances promotes the ultimate liberal value of actively individualistic free people." (author's abstract)
Keywords elite; elite research; democracy; Western world; conception of democracy; politics; liberalism; value-orientation; twentieth century; post-war society; world order; social milieu; freedom; free democratic basic order; individual; Schumpeter, J.
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; General History
Method basic research; historical; theory formation
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 351-366
Journal Historical Social Research, 37 (2012) 1
Issue topic Elite foundations of social theory and politics / Elitetheoretische Grundlagen sozialwissenschaftlicher Theoriebildung und politischer Analyse
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works