The Democratic Regime (or Political Democracy), and Citizenship as Agency<sup>1</sup>

Guillermo O'Donnell

in Democracy, Agency, and the State

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199587612
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723384 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

The Democratic Regime (or Political Democracy), and Citizenship as Agency1

Show Summary Details


On the basis of a discussion of influential conceptions of democracy, the chapter proposes a definition of a democratic regime (or political democracy) as made by reasonably fair elections, the rights of voting, the freedom to be elected, and some surrounding “political freedoms.” The ensuing argument is that, even though these are indispensable components, democracy includes other ones. The discussion of the undecidability of those freedoms, of the universalistic wager that is entailed by fair elections, of various aspects of the state that an attentive eye discovers under the formal characteristics of the regime, and of the agent that underlies the citizen that grounds democracy as its basic unit, or micro‐ foundation, open various avenues of inquiry that are pursued in the rest of the book.

Keywords: agency; democratic regime; polyarchy; Dahl; rights; undecidable; Schumpeter; institutionalization; universalistic wager

Chapter.  7768 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.