Constellations 15 (1):46-55 (2008)
|Abstract||The idea of control or power is central to the notion of democracy, since the ideal is one of giving kratos to the demos: giving maximal or at least significant control over government to the people. But it turns out that the notion of kratos or control is definable in various ways and that as the notion is differently understood, so the ideal of democracy is differently interpreted. In this little reflection, I distinguish between three different notions of popular control, arguing that only one is really suitable in democratic theory. Under the first conception of popular control, it means that the people have a causal influence on government; under the second, it implies that the people exercise intentional direction over government; and under the third, it requires that the people enjoy an intermediate degree of power: I describe this as institutional control over government. I argue that popular control as causal influence is not demanding enough for the ideal of democracy, that popular control as intentional direction is too demanding, and that the only plausible candidate for interpreting the ideal is that of institutional control. I discuss two ways in which this sort of popular control may be realized, arguing against what I call a ‘market’ model and presenting the rival, ‘condominium’ model in a rather more favorable light.|
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