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John S. Dryzek on Democratic Practice - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 150
Democratic practice/minimalism/Dryzek: (...) minimalism can allow forms of democracy that are very thin indeed, to the extent they barely merit the description 'democratic'. O’Donnell/Dryzek: For example, what Guillermo O'Donnell (1994)(1) calls delegative democracy passes the minimalist test. >Delegative democracy/O’Donnell.
Events/interpretation/language use/problems: (...) minimalism is insensitive to the variety
of forms that democracy can take in practice as well as theory, leading to misinterpretation ofevents and developments, and so undermining the analytical purchase that is one of minimalism's main justifications. For example, under sway of a liberal model of democracy, Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan (1996)(2) fear for democracy in post-communist Poland and the Czech Republic because of the legacy of the kind of politics that characterized their oppositional civil societies in the Soviet era (...).
Robert Putnam: Such practices and attitudes might also include the civic attributes fostered in associational life that are, according to Robert Putnam (1993(3); 2000(4)), the key to 'making democracy work'. For Putnam, a widely shared civic orientation that is not reducible to private material interest is necessary to defend state democracy against amoral clientelism (as in southern Italy) or rampant individualism (as in the United States in recent decades).
Gaus I 151
DryzekVsMinimalism/liberalism/democratic practice/democracy: (...) minimalism fails to do justice
to the variety of conceptions that political elites and ordinary people in [post-communist] societies bring to bear when it comes to their expectations of and hopes for democracy (for evidence for 13 post-communist countries, see Dryzek and Holmes, 2002)(5).


1. O'Donnell, Guillermo (1994) 'Delegative democracy'. Journal of Democracy, 5: 55—69.
2. Linz, Juan J. and Alfred E. Stepan (1996) Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
3. Putnam, Robert D. (1993) Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press.
4. Putnam, Robert D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
5. Dryzek, John S. and Leslie Holmes (2002) Postcommunist Democratization: Political Discourses across Thirteen Countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dryzek, John S. 2004. „Democratic Political Theory“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Dryzek, John S.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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