ÖZP 2010/1 S.89-104
Formation of Theories of Democracy embedded in Social Paradigms
Keywords: Theories of democracy, theory formation, Critique of Ideology, De-democratization
So far, theories of democracy have hardly attended to questions of democratic development but have mainly argued in a formalistic way. Only recently, conceptualisations outside the field of political science have turned to the dismantling of democratic achievements in society. This article examines various approaches which aim at theorizing mechanisms and effects that weaken democracy. By reconstructing their search for concepts within the history of political thought and their conceptual innovations this article discusses the ways and possibilities of recent theory formation. The analysis is based on a re-conceptualized critique of ideology. According to this critique of ideology, theories of democracy are supposed to foster democratic development. The following critical conceptualisations are discussed: post-democray (Rancière, Crouch), counter-democracy (Rosanvallon), and "de-politisized de-democratisation" (Mouffe). Despite considerable differences between them, these approaches remain within a narrow path of theory formation. Their continued focus on the nation-state and their spatiotemporal embeddedness turn out to be central barriers to innovative theory development.