The place of parties

Robert E. Goodin

in Innovating Democracy

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780199547944
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191720116 | DOI:
The place of parties

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This chapter develops a principled role for political parties. What would be lacking in a polity that is perfectly democratic but that has no parties? The answer is: the politics of ideas, systematically pursued. Democracy requires that a community is collectively self-legislating; a ‘ratio’ is required to have truly ‘given a law to yourself’, and to be ‘self-legislating’ in that sense; and collective ‘ratio’ is necessarily absent from the uncoordinated votes of independent actors in a No-Party Democracy. The ‘giving law to ourselves’ requirement, further unpacked, suggests a need for at least (and perhaps at most) two parties, and further imposes a requirement that they be ‘ideationally unified’ rather than catch-all parties.

Keywords: political parties; ratio; give laws to ourselves; No-Party Democracy

Chapter.  8368 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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