477.2 Representation and equality in contemporary theories of democracy

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:05 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Lara FERREIRA , Law, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The contemporary theories of democracy tend to assume the normative dimension of this concept. In doing so, contemporary authors intend to understand democracy as something more than the “possible and real democracy”, in contrast with thinkers like Schumpeter and others that sustain a minimal concept. Participatory, deliberative, republican and multiculturalist democracy theories share the same goal to present a model with is capable to announce “what democracy we want”. Despite this, each one of them presents a specific model as the most adequate.

However, the term democracy remains as a standard in the middle of all disagreement. If each theory intends to present a different model, why those all keep the same term to name it? It is important to notice that the term democracy refers to the Greek experience in Classical Antiquity, but acquires, in Modern and Contemporary ages, totally different meanings. But, if it is true, why do we keep disputing the meaning of this same concept for different realities and goals?

The paper intends to demonstrate, in a theoretical perspective, that all the paradigms of contemporary democracy keep two points that justifies the use of this concept: worries about the representation in the “govern of the people” and about equality. Both of these points are present out in a normative dimension, in terms of what representation and what equality we want. Notwithstanding this common base, each model of democracy defends a specific way to deal with these points.