Günter Frankenberg

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199578610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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Democracy has oscillated between individualist, collectivist, and organicist notions since the revolutionary era. Similarly, throughout history, democratic movements have agonized over what the power of the people should mean and how it could be exercised democratically. Today, models prevail that transform the fictive will of the people by elective procedures into regimes of (limited) majority rule based on the representational transmission of power, some representative regimes are complemented by forms of direct popular participation. And, consequently, the various narratives of democracy mirror until today the theoretical and practical-institutional attempts to limit majority rule in order to lend some credibility to the idea and ideology that minorities may become majority and vice versa — an interplay that qualifies democracy as legitimate popular self-rule. This article discusses the varieties of constitutional democracy and the dangers posed by democracy.

Keywords: constitutional democracy; majority rule; self-rule; power

Article.  10393 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law ; Constitutional and Administrative Law ; Law and Politics

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