The Challenges to Representative Democracy: Populism, Technocracy and Political Pluralism

Please join the Zoom 5 minutes before the event begins.

The talk presents theoretical and empirical research on the challenges to the core features of representative democracy as an attempt to combine the broad inclusion of citizens in the democratic process with efficiency of policy making and problem solving. It addresses the critique mounted by technocratic claims and highlights the tension between the holistic technocratic, and populist, conceptions of representation and pluralist representative democracy. Theoretical expectations are illustrated in a historical perspective that inserts the current challenge in the long-term development of the nation-state and tested empirically through a novel survey battery on technocratic attitudes fielded in fifteen Western democracies. The talk concludes with the normative question of the challenge being a threat or possibly a corrective to the shortcomings of representative democracy and with a discussion of the possible politicization by political entrepreneur for citizens’ demands for expertise and competence.

Discussant: Zack Grant (Oxford)